Earlier this month, game developer David Braben and his Rasberry Pi nonprofit foundation revealed a $25 USB PC. The computer can connect to an HDMI monitor on one end, and a USB peripheral on the other (such as a keyboard or a USB hub). You can use the USB hub to connect multiple items, such as a keyboard, mouse, printer, USB ethernet/wireless, creating a fully functional computer.
Specs for the device include:
• 700MHz ARM11
• 256MB of SDRAM
• OpenGL ES 2.0
• 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
• Composite and HDMI video output
• USB 2.0
• SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
• General-purpose I/O
• Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
Braben's intentions for this device are to increase the availability of computers to schools that would ordinarily be out of reach financially. He also hopes that people will use the device for academics and programming, and not just for leisure:
Working in IT, one piece of advice that I give to clients and relatives is to treat your computer like a toothbrush—if possible, please have your own, and do not share with others. It's always the same thing:
- Father opens a rowdy email and gets infected.
- Mother falls for a scam website.
- Daughter goes to a reality show fan page and gets infected.
- Son is outright infection magnet.
It only takes one false move to bring down the family computer. Everyone should should have their own personal device to minimize damage. But of course, not everyone can afford a computer or laptop per family member.
The $25 USB PC stick solves such an issue. Each family member could have their own stick, and plug it into the home workstation (or even multiple workstations) and do as they like—there is no longer the shame or accountability of harming other family members with your online habits.
The device is also well suited for saving money in different business and institutional applications; cheap computers for interns, a personal laptop solution for employees; low hardware maintenance for libraries and internet cafes, etc.
The $25 PC is slated to come out later this year. For those who cannot afford laptops or a smart phone with an expensive data plan, this is an exciting starting point.