No long lines winding down Madison Avenue; no marching bands in Barcelona; no glossy ads in mainstream magazines. Just news of a product available for pre-order is all it took to trigger a crush of responders and to sell out the long awaited, credit-card sized computer with a $35 (£22) price tag. The Raspberry Pi computer sold out in hours on Wednesday, after sites distributing the product witnessed unprecedented traffic.
According to the Financial Times, one of the two device distributors, Premier Farnell, reported half a million hits in 15 minutes, The other distributor, RS Components, said they had never before witnessed that level of demand for any one product at one go.
What’s the big deal? Those following the rise of the Raspberry Pi say the answer is not only price but principle. Developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK, the miniature PC is intended to eventually become an affordable mainstay for schools to use, to expose children and youths to programming and command lines rather than just touchscreens and in-store apps.