Raspberry Pi

This week the Raspberry Pi Foundation brought to market two computers. Model A is $25 and Model B is $35.  Here's what Model B looks like:

Raspberry pi
Here's a description of what this thing does:

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer board that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It’s a miniature ARM-based PC which can be used for many of the things that a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video.

Here are the specs:

  • Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

Needless to say they are sold out of the first run which are available at Element 14 and RS Components.

There are some challenges to working with one of these devices. You'll need to use a Linux operating system, for one. But unlike Arduino, this is a full blown computer, minus display and keyboard.

The target market for this is education, DIY types, and hackers.

But for me the important thing is we can have a full blown computing device for $35.

When the cost of tablet displays comes down, which they will, I think we'll see sub $100 tablets. And I suspect that will happen in the next 3-5 years.

For markets that can be end to end digital, like education, this is a game changer.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Khalid

    Hi Fred,Do you invest actualy in that kind of companies, i mean companies that produce small devices and products, or the union square ventures focus is only big social communities and mobile apps?

      1. Khalid

        Thank you :-)Are you an Entrepreneur?

        1. testtest

          you’re welcome, khalid.not really sure. don’t give it much thought one way or another.i very much like working online, and with information.

    1. fredwilson

      we did once, bug labsbut it is not our focus and i don’t expect that we’ll do that againour portfolio company Kickstarter has become a great funding source for projects like thisbut the big thing is that things like this will have a big impact on the kinds of companies we do invest in

      1. Sebastian Wain

        With commoditization of cheap devices like the Raspberry don’t you think nobody will be interested in investing on this market?  since at the end the differentiation will be on the software or “high-end” devices and will be a very low margin business. I imagine this is a business for big Foxconn like companies.It will be like the PC era but for mobile devices.Also, it is incredible that this advanced devices will cost less than a two person dinner in an average place.

        1. JamesHRH

          Low margin on billions in volume still a good business.Fred loves disruption on price & Prof Christensen says he is right to do so ( me too, even though it is not my thing ).

          1. Sebastian Wain

            Yes, it is a good business but may be a business for a few factories and I don’t see real disruption in terms of production processes. The Intel System on a Chip products can disrupt this market but I think the same factories that assemble devices with those chips can apply the same process to build cheaper devices.

          2. raycote

            The Raspberry Pi may create price-based-disruption at the low end of the market but there is far to much room for blue sky innovation-based-disruption in the mobile device market for it to have a serious effect on the overall marketplace anytime soon.New interfaces enabling deeper real world integration will continue to attract high end buyers for sometime to come. 

          3. Sean Moss-Pultz

            You need to worry about cashflow in low-margin hardware business. It kills you if you grow too slow and even worse if you grow too fast.

  2. Dave Pinsen

    Pretty impressive. As for education being potentially ‘end to end digital’, that’s true of a lot of fields in theory but not as much in practice. There are good reasons why you paid lots of money for your kids to go to a school made out of atoms, not bits.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. at the high end of the market (US, wealthy families, etc) education will remain in the realm of atomsbut in the developing world and possibly for parts of the US, it may not

      1. 2joshis

        @fredwilson:disqus BSNL one of largest carriers in india has launched a USD 70 tablet with 10USD/month mobile plan. More than US/Wealthy families there is need & desire in developing world to get online education.

        1. fredwilson

          SubsidizedI want sub 100 clean and clear

          1. Phillip Trotter

            Fred, there are already several suppliers in China that are delivering Android tablets circa this price point now. Datawind developed the AAKash Ubislate tablet now being sold in India  for the 35 to 50 dollar price point however education sales  are partly subsidised by Indian government. Ainol Electronic Co. – Ainol (also markets under Ainovo) probably offer the current best low cost tablet with the Novo 7  – an Android 4 tablet which is a collaboration with Mips for $99 clear and clear.   The second generation of low cost tablets typified by the NOVO 7 and the repurposing of mobile chipsets (i.e. the broadcom chipset and ARM GPU) into devices such as the RaspberryPi open up opportunities to rethink and rebuild end to end education publishing as well as embedded just in time technical training.

          2. raycote

            Fed is that your price point for US schools ?It seems to me that a much more capable device at a higher price point would be more effective and more engaging for student, teachers and content providers.The small savings of a few hundred dollars per device seems penny-wise pound-foolish when you consider that he United States spends more than any other country on education, an average of $91,700 per student between the ages of six and fifteen.Surely 2 or $3000 dollars of that $91,700 could be disrupted by quality devices and quality digital content while generating many more $ in overall savings.Device costs should be easily swamped by the overall per capita digital cost savings ?I thing the key problem is the lack of political will and leadership required to take on the status quo.http://bit.ly/h3PB66

          3. 2joshis

             @fredwilson:disqus it’s available at same price w/o any lockin/contracts. http://www.pantel.in/produc…1 USD = 50 INR

      2. ashyadav

        Sadly the US public school system as a whole  does not fall into the “high end”. For ideas like the R-Pi to change the game the mindset of the public school system in the US needs a big overhaul. The computers in our schools are 2 generations behind. The kids in “tech” class are being taught how to type on some ancient version of word and how to do google searches IE5. Most of them end up hating the “tech” class.  If the schools cannot effectively channel the technology prowess that the kids are learning at home on their iDevice how are we to create a generation that will effectively compete in world markets 15 years from now. What good is a sub $100 tablet if the ( public ) schools do not adopt them. The teachers that I have spoken to in my town are unaware of  KhanAcademy or TED.  We need a way to disrupt the public school  mindset. The education system / unions need to lead the effort  to create a smarter generation and we as parents need to demand it. We need an effort similar to the ones in developing countries to bring low cost “open” devices  to every child in our schools.The digital bits need to be nurtured within the atoms to have a lasting impact..

        1. ShanaC

          Talk to Jon Hefter about the actual computers.And I don’t think it is a pure union thing.  I think teachers are overregulated…it makes it hard to pay teachers a fair wage if they are good, and hard to fire bad teachers.

          1. Erik S.

            The golden age of public education in the US came at a time when half the population was basically barred from most jobs.Teaching was one of the few professions available to educated women, and as a result, salaries were artificially low.People can bitch and moan about regulations and unions all they want, but until they confront the essential fact that teacher salaries in this country are not sufficient to ensure an adequate supply of high-quality teachers, pretty much any focus on unions and regulation is a complete f’ing sideshow.

          2. ShanaC

            oh, agreed. Actually this is a problem in the labor market all together, stick women into it with old moral thoughts on the way women work, and you push prices down/complain about quality….

    2. raycote

      I’d like to hear your list so as to challenge each item against potential disruptors.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        For starters:Although a less regulated, non-unionized voucher system could reduce staffing needs and costs considerably for schools, you’d still need some teachers and coaches in person: partly to facilitate learning (less important with the brightest / most motivated kids; more important with the rest), but also to babysit, enforce discipline, handle emergencies, etc.

  3. John Revay

    Moore’s Lawhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wik… Game Changer – thanks for sharing  So much for WinTel

    1. Michael Elling

       Yes, but fail on Metcalfe’s.  Broadband is too expensive.  Needs to come down 90%, especially with high-def 2-way apps developing over next couple of years.

      1. John Revay

        YUP thank you for sharing we need more competition

  4. Ryan Etheridge

    35$ is all great and accessible but it will be a hard sell for education, at least K-12.  Monitors (TVs or otherwise) and keyboards cost money and the infrastructure is not already in place to support these devices.On a second note, more of a rant I guess, there is a dearth of quality education apps for K-6.  I search and search but find only the most rudimentary apps – nothing on K-6 vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  The hardware is years ahead of software in education.

    1. Bala

      Opportunity I say… Let’s go and build those software applications for K-12

      1. Ryan S Etheridge

        Email me. I keep a running list of needs as I go through my teaching day.

  5. testtest

    “There are some challenges to working with one of these devices. You’ll need to use a Linux operating system, for one.”that’s a total bonus!;)

    1. fredwilson

      For nerds yesFor mainstream types no

      1. testtest

        tough break for the mainstream. looks like an opportunity for the right people

        1. JamesHRH

          Mainstream is good – volume drops prices even further.

          1. testtest

            mainstream is good. i hope i didn’t sound too anti-mainstream.and price is even less when the OS is based on opensource.most of the new devices–phones, tablets, etc–are using linux or some variant of unix (*nix). from apple to android. 

          2. ShanaC

            So we need a mainstreamed distro of Linux that isn’t Android.

      2. LE

        You can graft a front end on that not an issue.  I think my of my older DVR’s is linux based. You aren’t exposed to the OS and don’t know it’s there. Advantage is no cost for the OS obviously. Marketing wise I can see how that would scare people away.

      3. Sean Dague

        The mainstream just won’t realize they are running Linux, because someone will put a stack on top of it and re-sell for double / tripple the price (still making a sub $100 unit). If I look at my home entertainment center the TV, Sat Box, Roku, Audio Receiver, all run Linux as shipped by the vendor. The only hold out is the PS3.So the nerds will come first, but they will make a lot of really amazing things blossom from it that everyone will enjoy.

      4. Bala

        Opportunity for someone to make this mainstream like Apple did way back in 2000 with their Aqua desktop on top of BSD Unix

      5. Erik S.

        For a lot of mainstream types, I don’t think it matters so long as it comes pre-installed and configured.I have a friend who installs Ubuntu whenever a family member comes to him wanting tech-support with their virus-ridden Windows PCs. He’s happy because he almost never has to do tech support for them again, and they are happy because they can browse the web all they want and their computer doesn’t get “sick” anymore.

  6. jason wright

    Top end education is less about what you can learn and more about who you can meet – the network effect.

  7. John Best

    I’d *love* to take one for a spin. You’re right, this is (hopefully) going to change the computing hardware game. Cheaper tablets, tablets with modular hardware (see the development of the Asus Padfone), “desktops” you can take anywhere with a TV and an internet connection to cloud storage etc. Organisations like charities or schools with limited budgets, or even households that want to help their children progress, have another route to affordable computing power. With your involvement in schools, I can see why this is exciting.I know the Pi isn’t the be-all and end-all – it’s a small, cheap, piece of limited hardware. What its development and the market desire for it speaks of is makes it a  much more interesting phenomenon. 

  8. William Mougayar

    The price point is a killer. But is this an Experiment or is it destined to be widely commercialized? I have my doubts that a foundation can commercialize it.  Something else must happen for mass production & distribution. 

    1. perfy

      They are using a licensing model and the 2 companies licensing can manufacture to demand.

      1. William Mougayar

        Is that enough for mass proliferation?

  9. CliffElam

    No real reason anymore NOT to have a computer on almost any dumb device.  I was never a big fan of a computer in my fridge, but now it would make sense to have something that cuts my energy costs and takes dictation like siri – open the fridge and it stops the fan and turns down the temp and listens to me say “we are out of milk again.”Very very cool.-XCPS – I needed this – I am running fasting hill repeats the second day in a row.  I’m just going to imagine bionic legs, thank you very much.

    1. ShanaC

      There are things I don’t want computers attached to.  Like my tea service.  Sometimes we all need time away

  10. pierre_s

    The Ninja Blocks guys are using something similar, check them out on Kickstarter > http://www.kickstarter.com/…The hardware they are currently using is actually already too powerful for their needs… that must be a first! :DWhat is good for everybody is to see the price of such tech dropping… pretty much weekly. 

    1. Jon Smirl

      Ninja Blocks are just a Beaglebone, http://beagleboard.org/bone, inside a fancy case with a couple of sensors added.

      1. raycote

        We should be fair to Ninja Blocks hereand throw them a boneThey have also added the Ninja Cloud service as well.

    2. fredwilson

      Kickstarter is a hub for DIY hardware innovation

    3. raycote

      Commoditizing the modular components for a universal, easy to use, globally networked anything-anywhere to anything-else-anywhere-else living-system of sensors and controllers.Danger! Danger! Dr. SmithInertial-dampening-systems for controlling runaway-snowballing-network-effects are presently offline as they were deemed to interfere with unfettered corporate monetization.http://dl.dropbox.com/u/187…;-)

  11. Steve Reis

    Lots more to come from India/Asia for low-price devices.  Aakash tablet (running Android) for $47 in India aims to transform education.http://www.reuters.com/arti… 

    1. fredwilson

      And I thought it would be 3-5 yrs for a sub $100 tablet! I’m feeling dumb right now

      1. abbashaiderali

        If you’d like to read more about the tablet, here’s a hand on review:http://www.washingtonpost.c…TL;DR: Slow if compared to an iPad of course, but can’t ignore impact of cheap   access to computing.

      2. kidmercury

        i think the prices are already right for facebook to give away tablets if they wanted. how many users does facebook have with a lifetime value greater than $150 npv? conceivably millions. i’ve been working a tablet for my trading community with this in mind. if you have an app store you can put on there with one-click checkout, the tablet will pay for itself very easily. 

        1. LE

          ” i’ve been working a tablet for my trading community with this in mind.”What would the users get the tablet in exchange for – what are you thinking?

          1. kidmercury

            same thing amazon is doing with kindle, but at the niche level. amazon brings you a computer and a model to sell through the storefront, and to monetize your behavior with the computer. also, you can do networking/collaboration/private community with a tablet, especially if the social networking company knows all users will be using the same hardware.

      3. Reddy_s

        Fred I think you are OK with your initial time assessment .When you are talking about 3 years $100  ,  you are talking about tablets of   comparable quality to  TODAY’s   IPAD/Android tablets sold in USA .  Here are the hidden things for the above mentioned Aakash $47 ( Indian govt. tablet ) – price  highly subsidized by Indian Govt – cut corners 1 GB ram  ( for real one you need 16 GB at least )- TFT screen (  quality not acceptable to many as it is now )- too many quality issues .This Review put it nicely :a $99 price point for a usable product is better than a forced $35 mandate. http://pcquest.ciol.com/con…Anyway We have to appreciate Indian govt. for initiative , things will improve over time .

      4. Steve Reis

        $35 + Khan Academy = Education TransformationI love to see technology come out of the developing world that turns traditional models upside down!   Here’s an HBR article on Jugaad, a Hindi word that loosely translates as “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.”  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/201…

      5. Brooklynite

        Actually, China is already awash in $50 tablets. Go into any of the electronic malls in Shenzhen and you get the cheapest tablets for around 300 Yuan ($45), and less if you buy a thousand. You can also buy them online for slightly more in the US. The Aakash was not the first cheap tablet, but somehow it got a lot of media coverage in the US. Never understood why.In fact, I use a $50 tablet as an ebook reader. Has Android 2.2, 7-inch screen, wireless (of course), definitely a complete computer. And yes, it has lots of quirks and bugs and most people will be better off with a more functional $199 kindle or nook. (Bought mine more out of curiosity.) But most of the problems will be fixed in a short time, I think, and they are mostly software

      6. Mark Essel

        I was thinking 3-5 years, no way. It’s gotta be now.

      7. tsella

        You should not. I think you are right on target.The cheap stuff available now is cheap for a variety of reasons: low quality, low specs, unpaid licensing fees, and more importantly, unpolished software – all leading to single/no purpose devices.Reality is that a “good” tablet, for mass market purposes, needs to have a good touch screen, good amount of memory (RAM and flash), good battery and good software.For all intents and purposes, the “good” hardware is just not there yet as far as pricing, and there is no good service model to offset the cost of the “good” hardware enough, at this point.Mass market expects a touch screen, application responsiveness and battery life to be where it is on a current day $500 retail price device.You need to reach a singularity point where hardware innovation is not enough to justify a higher price point – consider the PC: does the mass consumer care that the PC has the latest and greatest CPU or GPU which were the key selling points 10 years ago? And sure, one can argue that has also happened because a lot of stuff moved to the net, but trust me – you try running a current age browser on a 10 years old PC, and you’ll see the hardware was not there yet.Not to go into too much detail and actual pricing of “good” hardware, consider this – the Kindle Fire, which I find right on the boundary of being “good” hardware, is estimated at $200 and change to manufacture. To bring a product to retail you need between 2x to 3x manufacturing cost to keep everyone on the chain happy.Amazon optimizes a lot and stay happy as it owns much of the chain, and reaps benefits from complementary services. So much so, that it sells the device at a loss (hardware wise).Re Boxee (or XBMC) running on R-P – sorry to burst some bubbles there.. Sure, the UI can run, and specific CODECs can be played. That is very, VERY different than a consumer grade product.Re R-P in general – I’m just thrilled with it because I believe it will really help innovation. Some will get it for pseudo-DIY, just installing this or that homebrew on top, but a select few will use it to jump start something new.

  12. Dave W Baldwin

    On the money and will have impact on Education. 

  13. Sean Dague

    I’m hoping that Raspberry Pi adopts the Arduino model and fully opens their hardware design so that anyone can build them. The demand on these units is already explosive, and I don’t think they’ll ever by able to handle demand on their own.Among my tech circles the conversation is about how _many_ raspberry pies you’d order if you could (3 or 4 is a pretty typical answer), not whether or not you’d get one. The current price point makes them cheaper than arduino with ethernet, so an incredible project platform for network connected needs.

    1. Jon Smirl

      The main developer behind the RaspberryPi is a Broadcom employee. That’s why they are using a Broadcom CPU. Unfortunately Broadcom is a company that believes in keeping all of the details of their chips secret and requiring a NDA to see them. That policy severely hampers people working on open source software. Other companies with similar policies are Nvidia and Marvell.  It would be a major change in policy if Broadcom decides to put that CPU into distribution where anyone can buy it.Compare this with TI which releases all of the details they can about their chips. They can’t release 100% since they have licensed some of the IP and the people it is licensed from won’t release details. There is a tremendous open source community around the Beagleboard type devices.  You can easily buy TI CPUs. Same for Freescale, NXP, Microchip, AVR, etc….

      1. andyidsinga

        im gonna grab a beagle board ..i saw one the other week ago at the dorkbotpdx meeting here in portland. looks really interesting and quite powerful.

      2. andyidsinga

        not to mention that Atmel who makes the AVR mcu also sells a shit load of really well done ARM based mcu/soc parts. a few years back we built a product arount the atmel at91sam7s256 – arm7 – it was a dream to work with!

  14. testtest

    talking about education, i’m finding codecademy.com poorly written. the wording, at times, is odd.they should get someone like peter cooper to do a series. https://twitter.com/#!/peterc

    1. fredwilson

      Good feedback

    2. Cynthia Schames

      @chrishuntis:disqus I had a similar experience trying to do codecademy.com. I switched to a combination of eloquentjavascript.net and live classes in NYC with Girl Develop It.MUCH better experience.

      1. Richard

        Has anyone tried lynda.com. (Remember reading about them a a few years ago, I see that they are now a sponsor of TED? )

      2. testtest

        i’m going to stick with codecademy.com. i dig the interactivity.i need to get that book. i was helping a friend customize some javascript a while back, and i used that book (he  owns the book) to figure out what it was doing.i’ve done more jquery than javascript. but it’s come time to learn it properly.trying to spend 12 hours a day programming. it’s not going very well though. i keep on distracting myself reading.to be fair, quite a lot of the reading has been about programming. but there’s no substitute for actually coding, imo.

      3. ShanaC

        I switch to udacity.  I’ll probably still go ahead with code academy, but they need a copyeditor on staff to clean the text up.  

  15. tacanderson

    I’ve been following Raspberry Pi for a while and am excited to see it’s development. I’m currently reading this as I visit our office in Johannesburg, ZA and what excites me the most about this is the potential not just for developing world penetration but developing world innovation. Most PC’s here are cheap and subsidized even cheaper by Microsoft and manufacturers like HP & Dell, which is great but it locks the tech community into a western mindset. What happens when local entrepreneurs can innovate with a blank slate. Ubuntu, the ZA local hero, is one example but is just a copy of the western metaphor. I can tell you Africa is loaded with eager entrepreneurs that don’t have the same fear of failure you experience in Europe and Asia. I think developments like this will unlock innovation we can’t imagine. 

    1. testtest

      ubuntu rocks!got ubuntu on the machine i’m typing on.also like to use the server addition.

    2. fredwilson

      Totally agree

    3. karen_e

      I know there are a lot of music lovers in this group, so on the theme of underground African innovation, Questlove tweeted yesterday about the punk scene in Africa: http://www.okayafrica.com/s

      1. fredwilson

        That’s awesome

  16. RichardF

    As you are talking about end to end digital in education I think this article in wired http://www.wired.co.uk/maga… about what Alexander Shustorovich is doing in Russian classrooms with his tablet is worth a read (it’s long)

    1. fredwilson


  17. Jon Smirl

    The main thing missing from the Raspberry PI is a combo wifi/bluetooth chip. I’ve been in contact with the developers and they are aware of this but there are some expensive (for them) FCC/EU licensing issues to deal with. Wifi for Internet, Bluetooth for keyboard/mouse.Now look at the big picture – you can build fully capable computers for $35 now. You can buy pad computers using similar chips for $50 in China.  There is no reason for pads/phones to cost $700 other than to provide $500 in margins. Where do you think that Apple cash pile came from?Smart TVs are a gigantic market for low cost computers. It is ridiculous to be renting STBs that cost $50 to make for $20/mth. Boxee can run on a RaspberryPi and so can Android. You are just missing the server needed to break the monopoly hold of the cable company. Go look at the Ceton server I have posted about before. That server is going to be a hot product when it ships. You can build a similar Boxee server. Bigger picture – pad/phone/laptops are on a curve where the hardware is going to become cheap enough that the devices become almost disposable. Very cheap and very powerful hardware will result in computing devices being used everywhere. Right now we have an Internet of people, in twenty years we will have an Internet of devices with a trillion devices attached. The potential of machine to machine communication is enormous and has only just become cost effective to do on a mass scale.BTW – PI uses the same processor core, ARM11, as Bug Labs.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes yes yes

    2. kidmercury

      licensing fees have to come down. that’s going to be a point that really holds back progress in my opinion. 

    3. andyidsinga

      they should consider the gainspan wifi module ..they are already fcc/etsi certified AFAIK.

      1. Jon Smirl

        The Gainspain module costs more than the Raspberry PI. You can get FCC approved Wifi 802.11N modules in China for $3.00. In the US they include cases and a manual and you know them as USB Wifi sticks. They can be had for around $7.00 retail.But these modules don’t have the integrated Bluetooth. Dual wifi/Bluetooth chips are mainly used in cellphones and the modules are much harder to get a hold of. They need the dual type.Something like this:http://www.alibaba.com/prod

        1. andyidsinga

          Wow – yeah – thats pretty cheap.The part at that link looks pretty interesting too.

    4. Reddy_s

      great forecast    ‘ Internet of Devices ‘Combine this ‘Internet of Devices’ with ‘Siri’ like human voice commander interfacing with People and ‘Siri’ communicating with ‘Knowldge system’ which in turn communicate with these ‘Internet of Devices’ …—————Right now we have an Internet of people, in twenty years we will have an Internet of devices with a trillion devices attached. The potential of machine to machine communication is enormous and has only just become cost effective to do on a mass scale.

      1. raycote


    5. ShanaC

      But not well.  Its funny, the part that is holding this computer back is the RAM.  So we need ways to get the cost of that.

      1. Jon Smirl

        They have chosen to use Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM which is hard to get a hold of. If they switched to commodity DRAM it would be easier but the unit would be larger.

        1. Erik S.

          I don’t think commodity DRAM was a real option. They are only able to hit this price point, and this level of price/performance, because of two factors:1. They have access to an SOC that wouldn’t ordinarily be available at all at their production volumes, at a price point that would likely only be available at much larger volumes.2. They have been super aggressive at optimizing for cost to the point where the circuit board size and complexity is a major contributor to BOM.Commodity DRAM might itself have been cheaper, but wouldn’t have worked with the SOC they are using, and would have required a larger, more complex circuit board.

        2. ShanaC

          Large enough to be a nuisance though?

    6. JLM

      The disposable nature of such devices is a huge thought and a complete change in the commoditization of all things electronic.Intellectually this has already happened with off the shelf one time cell phones — the play thing of organized criminals.You will one day have all your travel docs — passport, medical records, airplane tickets, itinerary, hotel reservations, car reservations — loaded on a simple card/computer and you will just insert it at various way stations and go about your way.Instead of apps, these will be use and lose one time cards.If you have not yet used the boarding pass phone app, you have something to look forward to.

      1. Jon Smirl

        Your data will be in the cloud. This doesn’t have to be a public cloud if you don’t want it to be. It is possible to setup your own cloud server in your house and access it from anywhere on the Internet.You could buy a disposable phone/pad, enter your credentials and it will personalize itself. Use it for a while and throw it away. None of your data is really in it, it is in the cloud. Installable apps are probably a fad. Long run they will be implemented as HTML5 pages and cached. 

        1. JLM

          Yes, very interesting.  I see the short term complication being access to the cloud.  Great stuff.

    7. Erik S.

      Are smart TVs really a “gigantic market” for low-cost computers?I guess it is big enough that Broadcom has at least one part targeted at it.  As I understand it, the SoC in the RasberryPi underlies the current Roku boxes, which start at a little less than $50 with a case, WiFi and power supply.The larger market seems to be in places where much less microcontrollers are currently de rigur. 

  18. Benedict Evans

    I’ve spent the past week at MWC. There is a positive blizzard to $75 phones and $150 tablets running Android 2.3. Indeed I even met a guy selling a netbook running Android 2.1, with a keyboard but no touch, for $70 wholesale. The cheap computing revolution is already here, coming from a thousand very uncool Chinese guys in polyester suits empowered by MTK and Qualcomm, selling to Nigerian and Kenyan traders.

    1. fredwilson

      Bring it!Expensive hardware is holding us bsck

      1. kidmercury


      2. andyidsinga

        cheap hardware is everywhere ..but getting it to the easily hackable point and building an enthusiastic community is non trivial :)have you heard of beagle board ? http://beagleboard.org/ …its building momentum similar to arduino but much more powerful. [ edit : more powerful in the hw sense ]raspberry pi is very cool indeed 🙂



    1. testtest

      i’d rather have remote access to devices grim.if i’ve got 100s of networked devices the last thing i’d want to do is have to be in geographical proximity to use them.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s why I’m thinking tablet

      1. testtest

        i was thinking more along the lines of ubiquitous computing.

      2. Erik S.

        Was just talking to a friend in semiconductor capital equipment, who noted that there is a transition from 300mm to 450mm wafers underway.  That, plus shrinking feature sizes mean huge leaps in the world supply of transistors.I think chrishuntis is right, the bigger deal here is ubiquitous computing, not merely a higher volume of lower cost tablets.  Tablet ~ 1CPU/person.  Ubiquitous computing ~ 1CPU/object.  



        1. Mark Essel

          How about free?cover your wall-> large screen displaycover your ceiling-> lightscover your iMac screen & talk to rest of cpus in house-> new super computerSelf replicating little smartphoneycomputers with some 3d printing magic and a generous supply of the tricky stuff (circuit/displays).

    3. LE

      Agree. People like turnkey systems.Kaypro luggable:http://www.youtube.com/watc……about $2681 in today’s dollars. Notice the advertisementpositioning though.

  20. Joel Valdez

    The problems with prices of tablets or any other technology device is that by the time they come down, there is a huge digital shift / division between those markets that were able to afford the technology (tablets) and those who weren’t. It’s just a system’s problem.

  21. Richard

    Could Be Developing World game changer but what about electricity Costs? Environmental Costs? Commodity Prices? Costs to access the grid?

  22. ErikSchwartz

    Can it do daughterboards? The reason I like Arduino is all the available daughterboards for interfacing with the real world.

  23. BillSeitz

    I’m concerned that the ongoing cost of Broadband trumps the 1-time hardware cost…

    1. Michael Elling

      You are right.  Web 1.0 crashed and burned because of lack of broadband.  I keep on reminding folks in the upper layers and at the edge that after 15 years of consolidation thanks to the Telecom Act and inept regulators, the spread between retail bandwidth pricing to underlying cost is the widest it has been since 1984.  Fred et al need to start looking at disruptors in layers 1-3 in the last and middle mile.  Steve Jobs opened the door with wifi offload and OTT will bring pressure top-down, but there are no good bottoms-up initiatives that are horizontal and widely scalable that I am aware of.  Free in France is the closest example.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Web 1.0 crashed because “you can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.”If a company raises $30M in funding, pays $20M upfront to YHOO as a slotting fee, they’ve been skinned. The crash came when we ran out of sheep.

        1. ShanaC

          How is that different from buying search ads or facebook ads.  You could spend that much if your not careful in customer aquisition and retention, just not directly to yahoo as a “slotting fee”

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Because FB and search ads are paid on performance and CD Now’s slotting fee on on the YHOO music directory pages was not priced based on performance.

      2. Richard

        Yes. Why cant moore’s law apply to my wireless carrier bill ? $170 / month !

        1. Michael Elling

          Moore plus Metcalfe. Vertically integrated carriers don’t scale.  They are being disrupted, slowly.  OTT and smartphone app ecosystems attack upper layers. Drop-box and others attack middle layers.  Wifi offload (hybrid access networks) attack lower layers.  Carriers are dying slow death, but in process slowing all of us down.   http://bit.ly/AzWLF3

          1. Richard

            You are spot on, taking a Cloud Computing Class this semester at GWU.  America’s farmland may soon be rows of servers and not corn. I’m digging into your blog. Insightful Input!  I’ll be following. Can I get some feedback on a hardware/cloud application that i am working on?

          2. Michael Elling


        2. ErikSchwartz

          Wireless spectrum is not artificial scarcity, it is actual scarcity.

          1. LE

            Access to tower space is also an issue, right?

          2. Michael Elling

            Not really.  Backhaul is the bigger issue, particularly as LTE kicks in and people actually start using closer to their 5gig cap vs 1gig today.  LTE/4G is only 5% of handsets. By the end of the year LTE will be 20%, especially if iPhone5 comes out during the summer.

          3. Michael Elling

            The problem is the middle mile cost; which should be 90% less.  As well, spectrum is being used inefficiently and capacity is priced incorrectly.  Think of wifi as govt mandated infinitely re-used (nano) cellular.  There’s a lot of capacity in a 300′ radius cell.  Jobs forced this on AT&T and they had to accept it.  Ironically the carriers are teaching their subscribers to leave their networks.  Look at the FCC 3G coverage map; it is pathetic.  http://bit.ly/y3NMCK

          4. Erik S.

            I think you misunderstand both Moore’s law and the constraints on wireless bandwidth. While both are bounded by various theoretical limits, what is realized in practice depends very much on other constraints. Moore’s law is strongly influenced by economic constraints.In the case of wireless spectrum, economic constraints, including the influence of moore’s law, interact with legal/regulatory influences.A few examples of constraints and opportunities WRT wireless bandwidth:1. Local opposition to additional cell towers: More towers would allow lower-powered transmission, which reduce interference from nearby transmitters using the same frequency. This would increase the aggregate bandwidth available in a given area, using a given amount of RF spectrum.  Ironically, a major part of the opposition to new cell towers comes from people who are concerned with the (unproven) health effects, but more towers operating at lower power would actually reduce the max amount of RF power any one person was exposed to.2. Older spectrum allocations for services that require large “guard bands” to prevent interference. Analog TV “wasted” a lot of spectrum this way, but there are others (witness the recent news about Lightsquared vs GPS).3. Advances due to Moore’s law lower the cost of cellular base stations, making a higher density of cell towers more economical.4. Advances in Moore’s law make it more practical to have devices with “whitespace” databases that allow transmissions that take advantage of unused bandwidth in different geographies in a fine-grained way.5. Advances in Moore’s law make it more practical to have highly adaptable radios that work at a wide range of frequencies.  Combined with whitespace databases and other approaches, this makes it more practical to make better use of underutilized spectrum.There is a growing awareness that public policy around spectrum allocation needs an overhaul.  It won’t happen soon enough.

          5. ErikSchwartz

            I think you misunderstand the impact of exponential demand growth on a finite resource.This is exactly the same problem as the oil supply problem. Drilling for more oil is a stopgap, nothing more. We will never solve our energy problems by finding more oil if the demand rate remain exponential.Your solutions will help, for a few years. Then the problem will come back.

          6. Michael Elling

            It’s not a frequency issue.  Like with all networks there’s a trade-off between switching (layer 3) and transport (layer 2) and physical throughput (layer 1).  The BellCos were working on Wireless Local Loop in the early to mid-90s to combat digital cellular.  One of the outgrowths of this was 8×8 MIMO which has continue to be developed in the black by DARPA.  My sense is that this will be commercialized in the next 3-5 years.  That would be ironic if the bullet the BellCos fired comes back and kills them.

      3. fredwilson

        web 1.0 crashed and burned because of a confluence of things. lack of broadband was one of them but by no means the only thing.

        1. Michael Elling

          Agreed.  $250B spent on CLECS post 1996 Telecom Act and $250B spent on 2G frequencies in Europe.  Very real shocks and losses that contributed to a largely paper bubble/bust in tech (not to minimize the real losses there).  2G was rude awakening to investors to real economics of wireless networks.  Lesson learned for everyone (upper, middle and  lower layers) in the context of their own growth outlook today is capital has shelf life of 6-18 months.  Vertical models are not sustainable.  Carriers have spent $150B on 3G and now another $100B on 4G and coverage and capacity is terrible! That’s why data prices rising.

    2. fredwilson

      Good pointMeshed wifi?

      1. BillSeitz

        I’m a skeptic about Wifi range for shareability, for both (a) detached homes, and (b) heavy-construction high-rises. Plus, I don’t think there’s good InterOp among the various mesh protocols (though I could be wrong), which makes it hard for emergent approaches. I hope OpenMesh continues to make headway. http://webseitz.fluxent.com…

        1. Michael Elling

          Technology alone is not solution.  First, need to understand marginal costs of networks and then figure out business models (software and marketing driving supply and demand http://bit.ly/xDbQaR) filling networks rapidly (6-18 months FCF; recouped 3-4 years).  Lower layers seeing hybrid architectures developing (Free in France) and novel approaches in middle/upper layers (Republic Wireless).  Wireless’ next big jump will be 6×6 and 8×8 MIMO (first fixed, then mobile) increasing spectral efficiency from 2-3 bhs to 10-20 bhs (bits/herz/second).  3-6 years away, supporting thesis of rapid depreciation.  Moore plus Metcalfe.   http://bit.ly/ztlC8C

  24. Timothy Chen

    There are already sub USD 100 even sub USD 79 Android tablets. They are not sold in the US though. 

    1. fredwilson

      Subsidized or free and clear?

      1. Cam MacRae

        Novo7 is < $99 free and clear.

      2. Sean Moss-Pultz

        Free and clear. Pushing $50 now…

  25. gorbachev

    I’ve been tracking this thing since it was announced, but sadly missed the launch announcement, and so I was not able to buy one from the first manufacturing run.Not sure if the UK based stores were shipping internationally either, though.At this point it’s pretty moot anyway, since the entire lot is sold out.

  26. Michael Elling

    On a related note, saw a presentation by NYCEDCs Euan Robertson last night regarding Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.  http://www.nycedc.com/proje…  I would hope that as they spend $2bn on physical infrastructure they take the time to develop the campus and curriculum both virtually and digitally and present it as a model of low-cost higher education in the future.  This could be today’s Erie Canal done properly.

  27. kidmercury

    the super cheap stuff is always the best because of the marketing strategies it enables. whoever creates an apple-like system but with cheap stuff and honest, efficient platform governance will be huge, in my opinion. amazon. i hope some of the bubble 2.0 companies will use their cash to do stuff like buy hardware and determine what hardware is best for their app to build a computer with their app on it pre-installed. this then gets marketed to the right customer segment, which the internet has a whole greatly enables (customer segmentation), and serves as a data collection box for the customer. the lifetime value of this makes giving away cheap tablets to the right customers a worthwhile tool. the lifetime value of the customer will greatly exceed the marginal cost of the tablet. oh, and putting this in electric vehicles. man, the EV opportunity is so big. foursquare pre-installed in EVs, i was dwelling on that yesterday. the intersection of location-based social networking and electric vehicles is a money spot in my opinion. as usual google is one step ahead here with their self-driving cars. and of course there is always amzn lurking, quietly building their real estate portfolio. the internet’s ability to how we make more and more stuff free is one of the most exciting parts of how the current economic crisis gets resolved. people been crying about free healthcare, free education, free transportation……and thanks to internet companies they’ll get what they want!

    1. Michael Elling

      you just hit on 2 infrastructure problems.  bubble 2.0 cos (upper layers and edge companies) should use cash and collective application/market focus to support disruption at network/access layers and utility layers.  have talked a bit about the former on this blog, but the electric utilities are 20 years behind telecoms from what I know working on another project.  so no wide-spread EV market with current grid; nor for foreseeable 5-10 year future.

  28. Elia Freedman

    I love this and love the idea of cheap computers for education but we need education to be ready to use them. The College Board blocks all systems from AP exams but 20 year old calculators, making it hard to get adoption of anything else in the classroom. (That $85 TI-84, by the way, costs about $8.50 to make.)

    1. ShanaC

      Why does the college board do that – and what do they do for the comp sci exam?

      1. Elia Freedman

        College Board would tell you test security. No one bringing answers in or taking answers out (ha!). And easier for the gym teacher at the front of the room to know whether you are caring legal hardware or not.I don’t think they allow any device on CompSci, A or B. I talked to them a couple of years ago and they were starting to roll out a computer-based compsci exam, at least for part of it, but it has always been on paper before.

  29. sigmaalgebra

    Fast response:If subscribe to e-mail notifications from the US National Academy Press (NAP), then yesterday should have gotten an announcement of: “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012)”, Board on Science Education (BOSE).with a page for downloading the PDF for free at: https://download.nap.edu/op…This document has some pros and cons: The cons (political correctness, bureaucratic writing, just a ‘framework’ and not specific enough, etc.) can be set aside and the pros are okay. What they actually say about science education is good.So:(1) Fill in the ‘framework’ with specific courses, texts, and other materials. There are likely plenty of good texts available at low prices to get started: The state book selection committees of Texas, California, etc. may not like the books, but they should still be able to cover the subjects at least reasonably well. Sure, a subject like cell biology might need updating each four years or so, but nearly everything in physics, chemistry, math, geology, and more can last nearly unchanged for decades. E.g., if there is a really solid, well respected 8th grade general science text with its copyright available cheap, then grab it. There may also be a lot of high quality, well respected public domain materials from everywhere from the International Baccalaureate program to Singapore, Finland, US colleges of education, etc. available for free.(2) Put all the materials on-line so that they can be accessed via a Raspberry or some such with a not very fast Internet connection, easily enough by, say, a second grader, hopefully a first grader. If they can play video games, then that should be enough.(3) Maybe three times a year, in major world cities, give in-person tests. Let the tests become ‘certification’ in the courses.A bright student, not distracted, may be able to zip through all the K-12 science material before age 12.For as much as possible of the rest of K-12 education, f’get about it.’Dis-intermediation’!Considering what current education costs — US, Europe, Asia, India, really anywhere — there’s a LOT of money ‘available’ here via dis-intermediation, mostly because some students need only a Raspberry, a good Internet connection, 1-2 hours a day, and what’s between their little ears to do a good job zipping through K-12 science before age 12.Then expand to more topics, especially in vocational training. Cover plumbing, electricity, framing carpentry, auto brake repair, accounting, CPA exam preparation, etc. and get recognition from licensing bodies, trade associations, etc. for good performance on the tests.Will all students be able to do well with such means? No. Will some? Definitely, and those should be people good to meet.Entrepreneurship opportunity? Let’s see:(1) “Large network of engaged users”?Maybe 1 billion or so. A “network”? If there were relevant blogs, fora, on-line Q&A sites like Stack Overflow, with some ‘social’ aspects for student to student connections and student to tutor connections.(2) Barrier to entry?The goal of the students is to do well on the certification tests, and those tests and the associated teaching materials can be a natural monopoly: All the students want to do well on the certification tests because so many people respect good scores on those tests. So many people respect the good scores because of the quality of the program and the large number of students in it. So, another certification test, even if good, would have to struggle against this natural monopoly.Having good test scores respected would be good; that such scores would be accepted for admission to selective parts of further education could provide a high barrier to entry and close to a license to print money. Uh, want to get your child into a high end prep school on full scholarship? Okay, have him get started with a Raspberry and then ace the certification tests!For making the program good, draw, say, from the NAP report.Next, have the “network” — students, blogs, fora, Q&A sites, tutor services — particular to the teaching materials which, of course, are well connected to the certification tests. So, if want to do well on the certification tests, then use the teaching materials intended to provide the preparation.Also, are ‘controlling both ends of the system’, ‘end to end’, the courses, the teaching materials at the beginning and the certification tests and respect for them and acceptance of them at the end.The Raspberry can lead to massive volume. Then drawing from, maybe, Stalin, “quantity has a quality all its own”. There are maybe a billion students in the world who could afford, or at least get access to, a Raspberry, and having them all in the program would create a powerful international education monopoly.Should be able to get a solid barrier to entry.(3) Revenue.Charge for the certification tests. Have ads with the teaching materials. The ads could be from the related blogs, fora, Q&A sites which get their revenue from ads of their own. Some of the ad revenue would be from tutoring services, supplementary materials, higher education looking for good students, and companies looking for good entry level employees.One more point: The Raspberry seems not to have non-volatile mass storage. No problem! There’s now a 1 TB flash chip small enough to fit on a blade of a Swiss Army knife. One of those chips should fit on the credit card and be sufficient storage for a student for a long time!For the Internet connections, sure, wireless. So, no cables!Also, for the Raspberry, build it into the keyboard and have battery power.

  30. MikeSchinkel

    “desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games” – Thats nice and all, and I know it may help them achieve their goal of more kids programming which is great. But what interests me is the idea of a headless server HTTP and other daemons for lots of low end tasks.  Put WiFi on a future version that can fit into a power supplied enclosure you can plug into a wall socket for $25, with expectation that price will continue to decline, and now I’m really excited…

  31. John McGrath

    Looks like an Apple I.

    1. raycote

      Didn’t the 2 Steves start out by making a DIY circuit board ? 

      1. LE

        Yes and one of the advantages of having different types of people working together such as was done at Bell Labs.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012…I run into people all the time who have great skills but don’t have any business sense to know there is a market for what they are able to do. They aren’t aggressive in an opportunistic way (like Wozniak). (I’m currently trying to get my wife to do some medical case consulting on the side right now..)I remember getting a phone repairman in the 80’s (that I saw on the street doing a job) to install a cctv system at my business. When I asked him if he could install it, he said “I don’t know anything about CCTV, sorry”. I convinced him by saying it didn’t matter, if he knew how to string cable and do wiring, he could do the install. I would provide the equipment which I bought from the distributor. I just needed his installation skills. (Saved tons of money that way). Add: I forgot that same repairman ended up starting his own company after the AT&T divestiture when employees were given contracts to work on the side with AT&T to get started. Prior to that he had been a life long union member who never worked for anyone but the big telco.

  32. Luke Chamberlin

    Second comment on education as end-to-end digital in two days! I’m waiting for that blog post. The possibilities are exciting but I also have some skepticism.

  33. Aaron Klein

    This is so incredibly cool. The impact in the developing world is going to be huge.Just wait until it can run Android…

  34. CJ

    This is going to enable me to put XBMC in each room of the house, this is awesome for the home theater crowd. 🙂

  35. LE

    “But for me the important thing is we can have a full blown computing device for $35.”I don’t think what we have is a full blown computing device for $35. We have a device that will allow “education, DIY types, and hackers” to potentially come up with killer products that might have a market.There is nothing to prevent anyone from hacking together a device like this from available components right now (given the desire and more money to buy the components). [1]So what this device will do is enable more people to iterate and potentially create things that can be sold.  (I don’t really see at this pricing how the company is going to make money at those prices. In a sense this is what Steve Blank would call a “novelty” product for a large part of the people who will purchase it.  I worked at Supermac at the time with Steve on another product.)http://steveblank.com/2009/…[1] About 20 years ago I cobbled together a wireless camera which I attached to my daughter’s crib. It was a small video camera, a separate transmitter, a battery and a receiver. The receiver was hooked up to a TV in a bedroom. This was way way before the same products that were sold years later (as a complete turnkey solution) and very ubiquitous today.   

  36. digiruben

    Wonderful product. Schools in developing countries should be allowed to the front of the ordering queue for  @Raspberry_Pi:twitter 

  37. Morgan Warstler

    This is such a killer toy.

  38. Reddy_s

    Mind boggling what this little Pi can do ( watch video on the web page) Five Things You Can Do With the New Raspberr Pi  http://gizmodo.com/5889245/…1/  Make a Media Center2/ Simple network storage3/ Remote control your work PC4/ Make a home-brew voicemail system5/ Budget smart TV

  39. JLM

    This is the transistor radio of computer development.  There was a time when radios were made in the US of A.  I know, that was a long time ago.  I mean like back in the 1950s.Then Japan began to make cheap radios.  Very, very, very cheap radios.  Folks made fun of “Made in Japan” junk and then over some years Sony appeared and everybody said —  wow.I remember having a junky little Made in Japan transistor radio and listening to the World Series while lying on the beach.  I remember being perplexed as to why folks thought this magic little thing — upon which I could hear the World Series in real time — was a piece of junk.I cherished that little radio because it took me to the World Series.  I seem to remember it cost about $3.I also remember it was the relocated Brooklyn Dodgers v the White Sox. I think it was 1959.  I can’t remember who won.It was a great Indian Summer in October.These cheap computers are the same phenomenon — the commodization and democratization of a thimble of technology which was expensive and was magically made affordable — and they are a huge pivot point.They are not dragging along the legacy and development costs of “modern” made computers.Both the bottom and the top pricing are pushing toward the middle.  If I had never known better, I would never have known my little Japanese radio was a piece of junk because it was a diamond to me.

    1. LE

      “Folks made fun of “Made in Japan” junk “I remember when I was a kid my Dad making fun of things made in Japan all the time. Then years later whenever he bought a TV he would always “drey” the dealer to check and make sure the Sony he was buying was made in Japan and not in Taiwan or some other country that they started to manufacture in. Made in Japan, of course, was replaced by “Made in China”. And then China got their act together and started to make some pretty good stuff.I still can’t get used to clothing made in Vietnam though. I’m old enough to remember the stories every night on the evening news. 

      1. JLM

        Funny thing.My Dad would never ride in a Mercedes because of having fought against the Germans in WWII.I remember coming to pick him up to go out to dinner when I bought the first MB I ever owned.  I was proud of having hit a good lick.My Dad came out with a bounce in his step and abruptly turned on his heel and went back inside.  My Mother smiled and looked at me.  Dad was not going to ride in a German car.  Period.I went inside and he asked me:  “What’s wrong w/ you, are you taking stupid pills?”Needless to say, we took his car to dinner.It may be a few years before folks embrace Made in VN.  We become our Fathers, if we are lucky?

        1. LE

          “My Dad would never ride in a Mercedes because of having fought against the Germans in WWII.”Funnier thing: My Dad was a Holocaust survivor himself who also lost family members and he had no problem when I bought one. Or when I bought a german machines for my first business (they make good printing equipment). My friends parents (who were Jewish but American) were the same as your Dad ironically and I believe they also served in the War as well.My Dad thought Germany made great products and thought that they had done a decent job making reparations and amends. He’s also highly rational, conservative and not idealistic so that may have also played a role.I have at my office a Blaupunk shortwave radio from the 50’s that I am going to sell on Ebay that I got from his house recently. 

          1. Mark Essel

            Both your and JLMs pops sound like great folks. Appreciate the anecdotes, keep ’em coming.

          2. leigh

            Most of the Taxi’s in Israel are German cars (reparations).  I have to say though the PT Cruiser kinda freaks me out.  

    2. ShanaC

      Not if they are not usable to the normals.  One of the joys of those cheap transistor radios is that the usability was pretty simple (its volume and tuner, that’s it).  Computers aren’t specialized, and Fedora is very powerful, probably too powerful for normals.We need to rethink the software layer to cut back on crap and do more doing stuff.  We have to hide that this computer is as general as any other by making it not general…

      1. Reddy_s

        Give one month time ,  hacker will port  Ubuntu ( user friendly Linux ) to Cherry Pi  ( of course by adding  2 GB flash memory  for additional $5  ) http://www.ubuntu.com/ Fast, secure and stylishly simple, the Ubuntu operating system is used by 20 million people worldwide every day.

        1. ShanaC

          Oh agreed, but that won’t necessarily make them usable. It might be more usable to put a program on it and plug the jacks into some equiptment, using the computer as some sort of controller

      2. JLM

        Haha, those little radios had ANTENNAS and you had to manually tune the stations without having check stops on the frequencies.They were so basic as to be almost impossible.

    3. Reddy_s

      This is the transistor radio of computer development.   — agree completely- In few months we will see hackers port Ubantu Linux ported to this Cherry PI( by adding  2 GB flash memory  for additional $5  )  , then it is full blown computer. http://www.ubuntu.com/ – BeagleBone is another notable $85 full blown Linux PC with 2 GB ram, running Node.JS server  open sourced backed by Texas Instrument (TI)  http://beagleboard.org/bone , Beagle Chained 6 boxes for Video : http://www.youtube.com/watc…some projects on this platform http://beagleboard.org/project – India’s $35 tablet is here, for real. Called Aakash, costs $60 http://www.engadget.com/201…

    4. Tom Labus

      Dodgers won 4-2.

      1. JLM

        Haha, did you look it up?Sometimes I refuse to look stuff up relying upon my memory instead.  I often get it right and sometimes I am so wrong as to be hallucinating.I wonder what percentage of stuff I get completely wrong.

        1. Tom Labus

          I’m a baseball guy but I did have to look it up.

  40. Bala

    I heard about this 2 weeks back and pointing this out to someone redesigning a charge station for electric vehicles here in Iceland, I may have blown away a lot of their design challenges. I believe this could be a game changer for internet of things! Exciting times

  41. ShanaC

    I keep wondering how a computer like this will make it into the internet of things.  We will be able to make them smaller than credit cards eventually, so then what does that mean for the items they end up attached to?

  42. jason wright

    Is this the beginning of the end for Apples?

    1. Michael Elling

       not until competition figures out their ecosystem model.  they actual get low cost apple products through the active used market and prior generation new markets.  android guys don’t understand that.  that’s how high-end german cars are so mass market.

  43. RyanComfort

    Lots of talk on how this will have an impact on education.  I’m probably a bit biased, but I think this will have an even bigger impact on health care.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Thing is, it will have big impact on both…and more.

    2. fredwilson

      i’m trying to build a model in my head on how health care is disrupted. i’m in learning mode. i’d love to hear more from you on this.

      1. RyanComfort

        Would love to share more as well.  Too much to write for a blog comment, so I sent an e-mail to [email protected].  

  44. Dave W Baldwin

    Need to post an ‘off the subject’.  Turns out a State Senator in Florida, Alan Hays has pushed through Bill 868 that will have a big effect on Treasure Hunting, both recreational and professional. 868, like SOPA/PIPA, is sloppily written and far reaching.  Those interested can check http://www.facebook.com/n/?… a public group sharing info about this bill.  It is rag tag, but does include a copy of the letter Taffi Fisher (the late Mel’s daughter) sent to Governor Scott encouraging his veto pen.My intent is to post this here and in tomorrow’s post which should reach all those interested…thanks.

    1. fredwilson

      what is treasure hunting?

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Sorry, I was doing the post in a hurry. I used ‘treasure hunting’ as a broad term related to searching for buried treasure, ranging from the hobbiest on the beach with a metal detector to those in boats.The late Mel Fisher, famous for his finding the Atocha, was always in a battle with the government regarding who owned what when discovered.  Unfortunately, there are those that want to hand it to Spain, though Spain was stealing it from the New World.Then we have the Bill 868, apparently some screwballs messed up a beach.  So a Republican State Senator wants to fix this by writing a sloppy bill and no one knows of it (or reads it).  So they’re trying to convince Gov. Scott to veto.

        1. fredwilson

          strange what they focus on

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            Yup.  What amazes me too is this thing passed unanimously in the Florida Senate.  I would think the Senator who represents the area by the Rio Mar would have done something.Just goes to show politicians on state level have a track record reading bills like the national.

  45. Joseph K Antony

    The impact something like this can have in a country like India -especially in the educational sector boggles the mind. A true alternative from the sloppy government backed attempts like the Aakash $50 tablet .

  46. Joe

    The R-Pi isn’t your grandfather’s wimpy PC, just smaller and cheaper (where PC generations are about a decade apart). The R-Pi is based on a low-power-consumption (~ 1 watt) 700 MHz ARM11v6 CPU (roughly 300 MHz Pentium II/III) that is essentially just an input-output traffic cop for the much more powerful 24 billion floating point operations per second (GFLOPS), 40 million polygon per second, one trillion pixel per second Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), i.e., a supercomputer ~15 years ago, to which the CPU is mind-melded. In fact, the GPU is what boots from the SD flash memory card, not the CPU, as it’s doing all of the heavy lifting. The HDMI output for current and future HDTV displays is very important, as that’s what gaming, scientific visualization, simulation, virtual worlds, video applications, etc., need for portraying high-resolution, life-like images.The relatively slow 100 Mbps Ethernet and ~12 Mbps USB 2.0 included are a generation behind high-end PCs technically, but, for the intended classroom environment and typically-moribund Internet bandwidth available, where no one has anything remotely approaching gigabit Ethernet anyway (and won’t for the foreseeable economic future), these are just fine, as they are a big part of keeping the costs low. Schools will be able to use existing displays, keyboards, pointing devices, etc., that have been used with computing equipment already acquired in past years, and will be able to take advantage of current and future higher-end displays and USB storage and networking options (e.g., 1080p HDTV, USB external hard disk and solid-state drives, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.) as they become available through existing computing education acquisition programs.The R-Pi Foundation folks have said that the $25/$35 Model A/B pricing is sustainable at anything from the initial 10,000 units produced, up to whatever demand materializes, precisely because they’re a charity. The manufacturers (Broadcom for the CPU/GPU, by far the most expensive part, all the way down to the board assemblers) have agreed to keep their prices just above their costs, since no one else is making significant money on a commercial product that could compete with their customers’ products. The board design and software have all been done by volunteers with day jobs at Broadcom and elsewhere, and low cost and simplicity have been the deciding factors in all decisions. A small marginal amount garnered from the purchase of each board will fund the foundation’s future work, covering expenses such as lab equipment and software, travel to meet with educators, administrators, and donors, etc.The Foundation is leveraging the considerable R&D and production ramp-up Broadcom has put into the BCM2835 for millions of devices already produced for commercial products (e.g., the Roku 2 XS Internet video streaming media center devices, which retail for ~$90 with WiFi, Bluetooth, and some other bells and whistles tossed in). Marketing is word-of-mouth with a viral Internet twist and, as they’ve had 10 months of mounting anticipation in the hobbyist and professional geek communities building up through Wednesday’s launch, they’ve already sold through several months’ worth of production, and are well ahead of the much lower estimated demand they’d conservatively planned for through the Summer. The fact that millions of people in the public around the world have become aware of the R-Pi and have been visiting the Foundation’s and distributors’ web sites to the point where they couldn’t handle the load gracefully is an outstanding sign of the pent-up yearning for this kind of device at its low price point, and is a reflection of the real state of the world economy.The plan is to bootstrap each of the successive layers of software and ancillary experimental classroom-oriented hardware wholly through volunteer’s efforts, who are already very familiar with this territory, distributed in open-source efforts out on the Net. In the Fall, they will have a more finished device with low-cost cases selected from those the burgeoning public community is already prototyping, along with a plethora of material organized and to be published on the WWW through the same mechanisms already established for open-source projects. Almost every version of Linux is being actively ported to work on the R-Pi by their respective communities (Ubuntu is a curious hold-out, as they have dropped support for pre-ARM v7 (Coretex) families of processors, but, there is an Ubuntu version 9.07 (Jaunty) that does work, as far as has been partially tested). That means that several tens of thousands of Linux-compatible utilities and applications are becoming available, which include the usual office applications such as OpenOffice, graphics tools such as the GIMP, many web browsers, text editors, remote screen control (e.g., Virtual Network Computing – VNC), security tools, etc.As universities expand their on-line curricula, the models and structures for developing the corresponding K-12 teaching materials will largely be in place. The content will, of course, need to be adjusted downward for simplicity so that younger students will be able to grasp the key concepts, but, if there is a common heritage in the material as the students advance through K-12 and onward to college/university, it will all be much more seamless to their learning experiences. Building on a common structure well-understood by educators will make it much easier on the K-12 teachers and administrators, since they will have had the opportunity to learn the material in the on-line university curricula already. This will not occur automatically and overnight – the Foundation isn’t populated with fools who are bore-sighted on the technical developments. A number of them are educators themselves, and that was the impetus that led them to start the R-Pi hardware and software development prototyping process some six years ago. Now that the first phase of the plan, launching the hardware, is in full swing, and the second phase of building the OS and application environments is underway, the next phase will concentrate on developing the teacher and student materials interactively with alpha and beta testing groups in schools around the world, not just the UK, that have demonstrated the needed interest and abilities to effectively participate in critiquing and improving what will be published to the education community on-line.There will be bumps in the road and things won’t ever be perfect, but, the Foundation has set a pretty good track record for getting things right, so far, and there don’t appear to be any complete show-stoppers to prevent continued advancement toward their goal of ubiquitous availablity of quality computing education. Students should be able to progress well beyond the withered Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programs that have devolved into essentially only teaching word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, etc., at this point.

  47. Tommi

    It’sa game changer for sure but changing the topic a bit. …Significantly lower cost business models, inmy opinion, is aligned with the internet business model.  In Asia, most Asians associate low-price models it with low quality.  Like thePi’s model, open source software like Linux (used by the Pi) is not wellreceived here though we know the quality is good, for example.  But I think this is simply market perceptionand if someone can change that, open source software will be a game changer forthe software industry.  The internetmodel means I think, the glory days of the Microsoft, Oracle et al have peaked.  As maybe the Raspberry Pi might do to the electronics industry.

  48. nutanc

    This is a boon for the developing countries. The killer feature is plugging into a TV. Most households in developing countries have a TV though they may not have a computer. Package it properly with programmable content and connect it to the TV, maybe with a basic remote for navigating the content.If some kind of partnership is possible with the TV cable guys so that they can push content, then it would be even better.

  49. ErikSchwartz

    Marketing is expensive.

  50. Tom Labus

    When Fareed Zarkaria interviewed Hu Jintao last year, Hu said they made 4 bucks per iPhone.  

  51. CJ

    It’s called profit. 🙂  Apple’s margins on iPhones are 50%, some speculate more.  This is a case where there is a very desirable elite level that is being subsidized for the masses and a commodity level that’s being sold slightly about cost.  

  52. PhilipSugar

    I don’t know, I can’t fathom how they can be so cheap.I’m not saying you can’t want for them to be cheaper.But when I look at the power, speed, etc, its amazing.When you look stuff that was made a long time ago you can tell by how much people had how expensive stuff was.  I look at the size of houses, closet space etc, you can tell stuff was much more expensive.I just lament that I want it cheap has permanently moved manufacturing for things like the iPhone overseas…..and that in fact is why its so cheap.

  53. ShanaC

    Try ebay.  I see $75 phones there all the time.  Which makes me think the tech isn’t holding value and that manufacturers are wayyyy overcharging.  

  54. awaldstein

    Distribution and support are expensive as well. 

  55. ErikSchwartz

    Yup. There’s this myth that cost of manufacturing goods is a good starting point for determining retail price point. In reality it merely provides a floor.

  56. Tom Labus

    so’s being public.

  57. testtest

    cost-plus pricing sucks

  58. awaldstein

    So true…Spent a bunch of years selling atoms through channels. I have the spreadsheet permanently embedded in my memory.If fact, opening avc and seeing the card gave me instant flashbacks to 10s of millions of sound blaster cards that I had to build a market for.

  59. ErikSchwartz

    Soundblaster cards…. That brings me back…

  60. ShanaC

    What are we going to do about teaching manufacturing?   This can’t end well…

  61. Mark Essel

    Crank down the display (sweet tech) and wireless modem costs along with a battery and you’re good to go. What’s the least expensive phone/tablet without a voice/data plan? $100-200

  62. testtest

    “Now if they just came with Node already installed…”have you seen this:http://www.youtube.com/watc…funny.i’m still going to learn node.