Raspberry Pi Just About Ready
The Verge tech blog is reporting the $35 Raspberry Pi – which among many things could in theory be a very low-cost digital signage player – should see the first units coming off the manufacturing line within a couple of weeks.
Production started on the $35 Raspberry Pi last month, and now the team has announced that after a slight delay related to sourcing a component, the first manufacturing run will be finished on February 20th.
What does this mean for you? Since the batch of tiny Linux machines will be airfreighted to the UK as soon as they leave the factory, you should be able to put down your $35 for one by the end of the month.
The initial production run of 10,000 units has been focused on the higher-end configuration, with a $25 model that halves the memory and omits the Ethernet controller due for sale at a later date.
It’s important to keep in mind that this open source project started as a means of making PCs so cheap they could be put in the hands of millions of school children. There is nothing altruistic about finding ways to cut costs of digital screen rollouts or home theater systems. Nonetheless, the effort has a lot of people paying attention because of the overall implications and possibilities of very low-cost devices.
There is now a Linux distribution for the device – called Raspbmc – that supports 1080P video, mySQL database hosting and browsers.
It’s very doubtful the industry will see any serious companies releasing digital sign products based on this – it’s still a lab thing and will be for some time – but anyone who sells digital signage technology will tell you the pressure to drive prices down on hardware rarely stops. Even if a final commercial variant of the Raspberry Pi was $100, combining with a low-cost SaaS platform would be pretty compelling for large scale networks with simple media demands.