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Windows News
Game developer creates a USB stick PC for $25

It's not much bigger than your finger, it looks like a leftover from an electronics factory, but its makers believe their £15 computer could help a new generation discover programming. The games developer David Braben and some colleagues came to the BBC this week to demonstrate something called Raspberry Pi. It's a whole computer on a tiny circuit board - not much more than an ARM processor, a USB port, and an HDMI connection. They plugged a keyboard into one end, and hooked the other into a TV they had brought with them.

The result, a working computer running on a Linux operating system for very little, and a device that will, like the kit computers of the 1970s and 80s, encourage users to tinker around under the bonnet and learn a bit of programming. And it's a yearning to return to those days that is driving Braben and the other enthusiasts who are working to turn this sketchy prototype into a product that could be handed to every child in Britain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ7N4rycsy4&feature=player_embedded

They believe that what today's schoolchildren learn in ICT classes leaves them uninspired and ignorant about the way computers work. David Braben says the way the subject is taught today reminds him of typing lessons when he was at school - useful perhaps in preparing pupils for office jobs, but no way to encourage creativity.

More @ BBC News


2 Comments

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CoffeeFiend
May 08 2011 12:25 AM
I'm not sure if I'd call that a "USB stick PC". It's more like a REALLY basic embedded dev board (I already have nicer ARM boards handy, heh).

-this thing doesn't cost $25, it's an "expected" price (which I don't see them hitting)
-it has no screen
-it has a wimpy ARM-based CPU
-the video on this thing has absolutely no power (everything rendered by the CPU)
-there is no storage (add a SD card!)
-it only has the one lone USB port (keyboard, mouse and joystick? add a hub!)
-very little RAM, most of which probably used by the OS
-no network or wifi or bluetooth
-not everything has a HDMI input yet
-it seems to have no power supply (adds to the cost, looks like it has to be soldered too)
... I've seen netbooks under $200 that had a far better CPU, better video, plenty of storage, lots more RAM, a few USB ports, LAN and wifi, a LCD screen, a power supply, a keyboard, a touchpad, etc (and it can even run Windows)

The intention is to use it for people to write games. Ouch. This has less power and features than a ipod/iphone/ipad and many smartphones (and a much smaller audience too). Software-wise, you get no XNA framework, no DirectX or anything of the sort (you're pretty much on your own -- Linux isn't exactly known for being the best platform to create games either). Even Apple's stack would be a huge improvement over this...
I've seen Android netbooks at a major US retailer (the one that starts with a K and ends with a t, describes as "sucks" in the movie "Rain Man") for just under $100. That's the Augen 7" GenBook running the old Android 1.6. Augen has a 7" Android 2.1 tablet there for $149.

I want a 5" Android 3.0 tablet, without phone, no bigger than a Palm LifeDrive. I'm not going to get an Apple iPDA. That's what I've always called the iPod Touch, because it's actually a PDA, even though the PDA is "dead".