A new supply of the US$25 Raspberry Pi Linux PC, which sold out minutes after going on sale Wednesday, should be available in a month to six weeks, the nonprofit Raspberry Pi organization said Thursday.
A buying frenzy ensued after the credit-card-sized PC went on sale through two online resellers in the U.K. Technology enthusiasts hope the PC can fill in as a low-power desktop and a cheaper replacement to open-source boards like the $89 BeagleBoard.
“We believe there’s about a one month to six week lead time for the next serious volume batches to get into the market,” said Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, in an email.
The PC is an uncased motherboard capable of running basic word processing, Internet and video applications. The PC provides basic functionality with input, display and networking ports and the ability to run Linux flavors including Fedora, Debian and ArchLinux.
The PC has been under development for years and was intended to be a tool to promote programming among students. Raspberry Pi’s goal is similar to One Laptop Per Child, which offers laptops and will soon also provide a tablet for children in developing countries.
But technology enthusiasts also see opportunities to use Raspberry Pi. Developers began writing media center, educational and multimedia streaming applications for the PC after it was announced in May.
There are some limitations to that, though. Raspberry Pi can’t run WINE, an emulator that allows Linux users to run Windows programs. Keeping limitations in mind, some hobbyists are looking to use the Pi as a more powerful version of boards such as Arduino for applications like robotics.
The $25 Model A PC includes a 700MHz ARM processor, a Broadcom video accelerator, 256MB of RAM and a microUSB port that also acts as a power source for the device. The Pi’s graphics core is capable of handling Blu-ray video, and the PC can be connected to a high-definition TV through an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port. The PC also has two USB 2.0 ports for peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse or external storage devices. The device also has RCA video and audio out slots, and for $10 more users can get a PC with an Ethernet port.
The PC’s ARM CPU is less powerful than the dual-core ARM processors found in the latest smartphones and tablets, which run dynamic and more resource-intensive applications.