UK-based charity Raspberry Pi Foundation plans a wide-spread launch targeting school-education later this year

Raspberry Pi, a low-cost mini-PC that costs lesser than a digital music player — at approximately the equivalent of Rs. 1,700 — that went on sale in the United Kingdom on Wednesday (February 29) has been heavily booked.

The device has already been touted by technology blogs and twitterati as one with the potential to re-ignite the interest in basic computer science education among school students.

Developed by U.K.-based charity Raspberry Pi Foundation, the first batch of the mini-PCs that went for pre-orders through the website of two British companies which were licensed by the Foundation was booked within an hour.

The bare bones PC is fabricated on a circuit board no bigger than a credit card. The $35 dollar model (Model B) features a 700 MHz ARM processor, a GPU capable of delivering HD quality video, 256 MB RAM, an SD card running Linux operating system, Ethernet port, HDMI port, a 3.5 mm audio jack and two USB ports.

It can be plugged into a television and with a USB keyboard attached serve as a fully-functional PC that can be carried around by students in their pockets.

Model A that costs $25 will be introduced later this year in the Foundation's “educational launch” of the product. It won't feature the ethernet port and will have just one USB port.

Raspberry Pi Foundation, founded by Cambridge engineer Eben Upton, plans to reach out to schools across the globe. Low cost PCs have been recognised as a tool to bridge the digital divide. One of the more prominent projects has been the ‘OLPC' (one-laptop-per-child) project, the non-profit mission run by Nicholas Negroponte. Unlike the OLPC laptop, which is a complete product, the Raspberry Pi mini-PC is more basic and lays emphasis on coding and programming skills.

On its website, www.raspberrypi.org, the Foundation said: “Six years after the project's inception, we're nearly at the end of our first run of development — although it's just the beginning of the Raspberry Pi story..”

Keywords: Raspberry Pimini-PC