Raspberry Pi, the low cost ARM bare-board computer has gone on sale and sold out in less than two hours. The demand was so great that it caused the web sites of its retail partners, Farnell and RS Components, to crash.
The big question is why?
The unit, the Pi model B, retails at $35 and is essentially a bare board with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 256MB of RAM. The model A, which will be available later, for $25 has fewer features although it will have the same amount of RAM. The Pi is claimed to have twice the power of an iPhone 4S and be capable of being used as a graphics machine.
As soon as the model B went on sale, the retailers' sites crashed and the Raspberry Pi Foundation apologized to customers via Twitter. - it own site having reverted to a static page to stay functioning. At the moment both retailers have sold out and are asking customers to register for news of when more units are available. The Chinese manufacturer can only make shipments of 10,000 units at a time - more some time next week.
Although the device is supposedly aimed at educational use, the current Raspberry Pi Stampede is more likely to do with hobbyist and makers having a pent-up need for a small cheap system to use in a range of projects. It will be interesting to see if there is any effect of the sellout on the creation of new programmers.
It is an amazing event no matter what the cause. Who would have guessed that such a primitive - it doesn't even have a case - piece of hardware could still have the power to capture the mind of so many techies.