Dec. 28, 2011 at 2:22 PM ET
Computers have gotten pretty cheap — but $25 cheap? Although you may not want the one made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, your kids might — it's built with the idea of them using it to learn how to program.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV (or DVI monitor) and a keyboard, and can be used for "many of the things your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games," says the foundation, a registered British charity started with the goal of getting kids thinking about programming — and not just consuming content — on computers.
"This is a tiny bit of kit aimed at getting hackable technology into the hands of anyone who can afford" it, noted The Register. And parents "won't have to worry about the home PC getting wrecked by their teenagers' handmade software."
The computer can be plugged into a wall socket, or can run on four AA batteries.
How can the foundation make such an inexpensive offering?
"Your baseline, unavoidable cost is some RAM and an application processor," Eben Upton, a foundation trustee, recently said in an interview with the newspaper. "Depending on the choices you make, this is going to cost the best part of $15, and then you're looking at a few dollars of board, connectors, assembly and margin. So we've gone pretty much as low as you can reasonably go."
The foundation hopes to have the Raspberry Pi ready for sale early in the year. There will be a Model A, with 128 megabytes of RAM and no Ethernet, and a Model B, for $35, that will have 256 MB of RAM and Ethernet.
You can learn more about the foundation and the computer here. And watch a demo of "Quake III" on the Raspberry Pi below; it's not bad, not bad at all.