After the somewhat hugely surprising successful launch of the bargain basement credit card sized computer back in February last year, Raspberry Pi have now set up a store in which you can purchase or share games, applications and tools developed for the computer.
When Pi was first brought to the market at 6.00 in February, and the two companies who were involved in its manufacture stated their involvement, by 6.01 both their sites had crashed under increased traffic flow. Such was the interest and the anticipation that had been building for months about a relatively outdated looking piece of circuitry that is designed to make men of a certain age reminisce about the ‘good old days’.
Raspberry PI was created on a shoestring budget, by six people on money they managed to come up with themselves. And the organisation is a not-for-profit project, however, the transition to a more professional operation, where the manufacturing and management of sales will be carried out by two major electronics suppliers, should eventually pay off – but in the short-term there are bound to be hiccups.
There was a real problem of whether the device would appeal to children and teenagers and not just teary eyed middle aged men. When a reporter spent a day in Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, watching Raspberry Pi’s co-founder Eben Upton show off the device to a Year 8 ICT class, one boy exclaimed: “That’s a computer?!” before piling in with his classmates to reprogramme the classic game Snake using the Python language.
Today, the Raspberry Pi is deemed to be one of 2012’s most successful new technology products, and as such, the company behind the technology have decided that there should now be a Pi Store.
In his blog, Eben Upton, the former Cambridge computer whizz who came up with the idea for a cheap and affordable device that would encourage the younger generation to get coding wrote that he hoped it: “will provide young people with a way to share their creations with a wider audience, and maybe to make a little pocket money along the way”.
If that does happen, it will also provide useful evidence that the Raspberry Pi is reaching the audience at which it was originally targeted. So far the team have sold around 75,000 devices, while they originally thought they would shift an initial sum of 10,000, interest in the device has far exceeded expectations.
So just who is buying the device? Early reports suggest is it indeed the 40 something who are looking back with nostalgia to their early years, and not the younger generation that the team wanted to target. Upton confirmed this: “there’s a strong bias towards adults who are computer literate” – but said that was changing a bit. “Schools that are lucky enough to have an enthusiastic ICT teacher – or even a physics teacher – have been getting them.”
It could be that the device, which is currently uncased, and looks more like an unfinished circuit board, is putting off a lot of potential client, including teachers. There are plans to change that, however. “The intent is to have something that can go into a generic classroom environment,” he said.
By the time Raspberry Pi celebrates its first anniversary at the end of February, more than a million will have been sold – an amazing achievement for what has been a shoestring operation dependent on voluntary efforts and the enthusiasm of the community. The next step is to build a more professional organisation which can fulfill the original vision – to transform the way children use and understand computers.
Source: BBC News