$25 Computer Hits Production Line

Manufacturing has begun on a Linux computer that costs just $25. But the British developers have conceded they will have to outsource production overseas to make it viable.

The long-running project aims to cut costs by reducing a computer to its most basic components while still having all the functionality you’d expect from modern hardware. The idea is to make it so cheap that children around the world can buy one or have it as a gift and learn processing skills.

To keep the computer within budget, it’s reduced to a single chip board around the size of a credit card with no external casing. There’s an HDMI socket and analog video and audio sockets for connecting to a TV. There’s also a USB slot for connecting a keyboard (or inserting a USB hub for multiple input devices or a USB drive), and an SD card slot for storage. There are two models, one of which includes an ethernet cable for internet access (though the other should support wireless dongles.)

The machine only supports 256MB of memory, so it will support Debian, Fedora, and ArchLinux, though the manufacturers expect some people will at least attempt running older versions of Android. Windows emulators look to be a step too far at this stage.

The initial manufacture run is 10,000, though it’s not yet decided whether sales will start before the entire run is complete. There will be a maximum of one order per customer to minimize the risk of eBay scalping.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the British charity behind the device, had originally intended to have it manufactured entirely in the United Kingdom. It says that has proven impossible, with reasons including a slower turnaround time and difficulty finding manufacturers that could offer a good price but also deal in large quantities.

The group has also highlighted a damaging quirk in the British tax system: companies must pay import taxes on individual computer components, but do not have to do so on completed devices, which acts as a deterrence to domestic computer manufacturing.





7 Responses to $25 Computer Hits Production Line

  1. If you go and try to buy just the connectors from your local electronics store ( provided that such a thing still exists ) you are going to pay MUCH MORE than $25 ( HDMI, Ethernet , USB 2.0 etc).

    • yah, thats retail cost… hopefully the children who build these can atleast have one to use during their 3 minute break of their 14 hour shift

  2. disappointed with the current economy, that they would be "outsourcing production overseas." This is otherwise a wonderful idea.

    • They stated in an article on their site that they wouldn't even break even if they kept production in the UK. The reasons they have for doing so are completely understandable. They did state that they would look into producing the A-Model in the UK; since they expect a much lower demand (mainly because of the "no ethernet cable" and the lower RAM (only 128MB)).

      Source: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509

  3. If you pay attention to the announcement on the website the one being manufactured at the momment is the $35 "B" Model not the $25 "A" model