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Raspberry Pi $25 Linux Computer Now In Production (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the cheap-computing-at-its-finest dept.

United Kingdom 196

Timothy Lord caught up with Raspberry Pi product leader Eben Upton at CES. The long-awaited $25 Linux single-board computers are finally being shipped from the Chinese factory where they're being assembled and will be available for sale in just a few weeks. Eben talks not only about the Raspberry Pi boards and the add-on Gertboard, but about the eBay auction that helped finance Raspberry Pi. Timothy says he considers Eben Upton one of his "personal tech-world heroes." After watching this video, maybe he'll be one of yours, too. Read on below to watch.

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Warning ! (5, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723188)

Remember, the 1st batch of 10000 Raspberry Pi boards will ONLY be available from http://www.raspberrypi.com/ [raspberrypi.com] (you can order some nice stickers in the meantime)

Be aware that scam sites (like http://www.systemsofhull.co.uk/raspberry-model-p-261.html [systemsofhull.co.uk] ) have begun to pop-up. :-(

Re:Warning ! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723302)

My analysis of web analytics shows that given a link, someone percentage of people will click it.
Even if you explicitly say it's a scam, some people will click that link, AND fall for it.

And this even goes for sites with allegedly intelligent and tech savy demographics.

Re:Warning ! (3, Funny)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723570)

Whoopsie.

Do NOT click the 2nd link, people !

:-)

Re:Warning ! (4, Funny)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723656)

Do NOT click the 2nd link, people !

Great, now I HAVE to click it! Stupid reverse psychology...

:-)

Re:Warning ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723380)

Wanker. That site clearly states availability in mid-February. How is that a scam when the first batch is available mid-January? What do you have against that site? Or are you just the kind of naive idiot that shouts "wolf!" whenever he gets confused online?

Re:Warning ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723476)

The first batch will only be available 1 to an address. How Systems of Hull expect to be able to buy them in to order in able to resell them is a mystery. If they cannot get hold of a product but are advertising it to resell, then that probably classes as a scam. That makes you the wanker, and a cunt.

Re:Warning ! (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723500)

Mr. Andrew Lamb (trading as Systems Of Hull),

Read the announcements on the official Raspberry Pi site - they have NOT made any deals with any resellers.
Also on the forum thread discussing this particular scam - the phone number given it's disconnected and the address of the presumed shop it's for an appartment complex.

Next time you try to scam people, at least be more beliveable.

Re:Warning ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723736)

God you Slashdotters really are paranoid nutjobs, aren't you? Yes, I AM ANDREW LAMB. Moron. Thanks for proving my whole "crying wolf when he gets confused" theory beyond a doubt.

Funny, I thought the Raspberry Pi design was open-source. Funny kind of open-source if you all call "scam" on anyone who builds & sells them himself ... but hey, you found out his business address is his home address. Damn garage operations, they should all be closed down in favour of corporations.

Re:Warning ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723914)

good luck with that. I hope you have about $10,000,000 lying around to buy the SoC as Broadcom don't deal with anything less than an order of 1,000,000 give or take and the SoC isn't something you could change easily. Then we have thee PoP memory. Hope you have a very steady hand to solder them

Re:Warning ! (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723940)

God you Slashdotters really are paranoid nutjobs, aren't you? Yes, I AM ANDREW LAMB. Moron. Thanks for proving my whole "crying wolf when he gets confused" theory beyond a doubt.

Funny, I thought the Raspberry Pi design was open-source. Funny kind of open-source if you all call "scam" on anyone who builds & sells them himself ... but hey, you found out his business address is his home address. Damn garage operations, they should all be closed down in favour of corporations.

If you are Andrew Lamb, you're hardly going to get customers with an attitude like that.

You should demonstrate how you're going to fulfil orders. The thread on the forums [raspberrypi.org] points out the problems -- why not respond to them?

Here's the best post from that thread:

1) He claims to be VAT registered but doesn't seem to want to state his VAT number. That is a bit strange. I think I will ring up HMRC and check he is registered. I hope he is otherwise he is committing tax fraud.

2) In his terms and conditions he states "All items are covered by a manufacturers 12 month warranty. If an item develops a fault it is best to request an RMA directly with the manufacturer." WRONG!. UK consumer law makes it crystal clear the seller is responsible for goods sold not the manufacturer. It is the sellers duty to mess about with the manufacturer.

3) He is advertising a product he can not honestly expect to have in stock. I suspect he will take people's money and simply tread water until he can get his hands on enough units to send out to people. This could take months and months.

4) He is selling products based on the PI that don't exist yet. I suspect he will simply grab the first "in-car entertainment" project that comes along and sell that. Nice.

5) He is profiting on a charity selling devices. He is doing nothing than attempting to make £4 for doing nothing other than adding delay and bureaucracy.

Re:Warning ! (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723398)

Too bad the account entry is screwed up at their site. Won't let me create the account without entering a state or province, and while there is a prompt, there is no associated entry widget.

Re:Warning ! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723532)

Seems to work ok here.

Re:Warning ! (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723706)

Seems to work ok here.

Yeah, it works if I allow scripts globally. I don't see any particular source that I should be including and the list of blocked sources is a list I would like to stay blocked.

When I allowed scripts globally (for a few seconds) An Amazon tab I had open went nuts.

Blocked sites (12) are from google, amazon, ebay, facebook, openmedia.ca (?) visualwebsiteoptimizer.com (possibly the culprit), stumbleupon, and twitter.

Anyway, I'll give creating an account another try sometime in the future. Maybe they will clean up the XSS enough to allow the form to be filled out. And maybe they won't

Re:Warning ! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723760)

I don't allow global and it worked for me. I allow most of google, ebay, and amazon though.

Re:Warning ! (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723732)

Aren't all the gerbers and design files published royalty-free? What's stopping someone from manufacturing their own? I don't even think the RP community would care - the more devices out there the better.

Re:Warning ! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723852)

The main problem is that the SoC is difficult/impossible to buy in anything other than enormous quantities. Some of the Raspberry Pi people work at Broadcom, so they're in a slightly better negotiating position than everyone else.

Re:Warning ! (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724006)

They have talked about releasing them but I don't think they have actually done so yet.

Plus as the AC says broadcom don't like dealing with small operations (the pi guys are getting a break because they have a guy on the inside) so even when released they will be of limited utility.

What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723206)

While there were concerns about not being able to build it in the UK, what would it have been if they managed to do so?

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723274)

Main problem with building it in the UK is that:
It would be $10-$15 more expensive
and you'd have to wait 2-3 Months to get one rather than 2-3 weeks!!

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723310)

and you'd have to wait 2-3 Months to get one rather than 2-3 weeks!!

There's some precedent for this in the UK. Some of the original Sinclair systems were sold for almost exactly the cost of production. They'd take the money, put it in the bank for a month, then buy the parts and build the machine for you. The interest that the money earned in that month was their profit margin.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723338)

Main problem with building it in the UK is that:
It would be $10-$15 more expensive
and you'd have to wait 2-3 Months to get one rather than 2-3 weeks!!

That, _after_ the thing has shipped 7000 KM from "the far east". 40% more expensive and 400% more time to deliver, if the product is assembled locally in the UK. Need I draw conclusions?

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723402)

You've ignored two reasons why it would be more expensive if made in the UK.
Firstly, we don't make all the require components in the UK, so they'd have to be shipped in anyhow. This attracts an import tax.
Secondly, and more relevantly, the import tax law is flawed; you don't have to pay tax on the items which pre-assembled, even if they are made from the same components which, seperately, would be taxed.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723414)

Shipping is cheap if you can fill a container. Depending on the size of the box it might be a penny to a nickel per unit.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723446)

You can conclude that manufacturing is cheaper in China, and that due to this many corporations have shifted their manufacturing there, and so Chinese factories are now bigger and more numerous, leading to increased production capacity... oh, and the cost of shipping small, light goods is dirt cheap. But we knew this already.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723624)

You can also conclude that domestic production is actually penalized since the individual parts of the product attracts import tax, while the complete, manufactured overseas product does not. Isn't collusion between governement and big business wonderful?

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723558)

There was a mention on the blog that importing the parts was more expensive that importing the completed device, for some odd reason. Seems the UK tax system is geared towards placating the City these days.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (4, Informative)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723744)

this is the blog post: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509 [raspberrypi.org]

We investigated a number of possible UK manufacturers, but encountered a few problems, some of which made matters impossible. Firstly, the schedule for manufacture for every UK business we approached was between 12 and 14 weeks (compared to a 3-4 week turnaround in the Far East). That would have meant you’d be waiting three months rather than three weeks to buy your Raspberry Pi, and we didn’t think that was acceptable.

Secondly, we found that pricing in the UK varied enormously with factories’ capacity. If a factory had sufficient capacity to do the work for us, they were typically quoting very high prices; we’d expected a delta between manufacture pricing between the UK and the Far East, but these build prices not only wiped out all our margin, but actually pushed us into the red. Some factories were able to offer us prices which were marginally profitable, but they were only able to produce at most a few hundred units a month; and even then, we were doing better by more than five dollars per unit if we moved that manufacture to the Far East. When you’re talking about tens of thousands of units per batch, losing that sum of money for the charity – a sum that we can spend on more manufacture, more outreach work and more research and development – just to be able to say we’d kept all the work in one country, starts to look irresponsible.

I’d like to draw attention to one cost in particular that really created problems for us in Britain. Simply put, if we build the Raspberry Pi in Britain, we have to pay a lot more tax. If a British company imports components, it has to pay tax on those (and most components are not made in the UK). If, however, a completed device is made abroad and imported into the UK – with all of those components soldered onto it – it does not attract any import duty at all. This means that it’s really, really tax inefficient for an electronics company to do its manufacturing in Britain, and it’s one of the reasons that so much of our manufacturing goes overseas. Right now, the way things stand means that a company doing its manufacturing abroad, depriving the UK economy, gets a tax break. It’s an absolutely mad way for the Inland Revenue to be running things, and it’s an issue we’ve taken up with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724090)

for some odd reason.

The problem is that duty levels are set to placate certain interests not to make the system make sense as a whole.

Also afaict customs dutys are set by the EU as a whole not by indvidual countries which means there is even more beuracracy.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723408)

It doesn't take an hour to assemble one, and even in the UK assemblers of these kinds of parts don't make $15 an hour. And don't have 4-5x the latency of products shipped from a planet's width away.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723528)

They covered this in a blog post on their site. Regardless of your impressions of what things should cost to make, the quotes from the UK based firms would have put them further behind schedule and losing money on each unit, whereas overseas assembly lets them put more money to their charitable goals while still hitting the long-set price points.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723648)

To sum up the post on the official site:
- Small UK companies were offering faster assembly & low prices but a very low volume (hundreds per week)
- Big UK companies were either not interested for runs under 100k or offered outrageously high quotes and demanded a huge wait time.
Adding the component customs tax to this ... it's cheaper in China as the end product (computer board) has 0 customs tax according to EU laws.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723792)

It doesn't take an hour to assemble one, and even in the UK assemblers of these kinds of parts don't make $15 an hour.

PCB assembler [electronicsweekly.com] , £7-7.15/hour, i.e. about $11/hour. (Minimum wage in the UK is £6.08/hour). Add in some overheads (cost of factory buildings and equipment, etc)...

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723938)

If you think someone will hand solder them you are nuts.

Those boards are machine placed, paste solder globs placed and then oven reflow baked to make the BGA processor stick to the board.

The only part that is hand assembled is putting the boards in a box after placing in the testing jig.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724172)

And don't have 4-5x the latency of products shipped from a planet's width away.

It only takes a few days to fedex a package from china. When talking about timescales tomake and assemble a batch of 10K boards a few days is insignificant and it's not like the pi is big or heavy.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724128)

> It would be $10-$15 more expensive

Import duty on components is 2.5%, so that's a mighty high estimate you have there buddy.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723292)

If it was Apple instead of Raspberry I'd have said $25 for the US market and £25 for us.

Re:What would have been the cost to be UK-built? (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723378)

Well, For UK it will be $25 + VAT + Royal Mail =~ £25
US buyers will not pay VAT and only slightly more for P&P so they will get it cheaper :-)

Ardino competitor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723228)

This is the first I've heard of this.

So, this is basically an Ardino competitor? For half the price?

I was hoping this was something to put a monitor, keyboard and mouse on - as is - and have a $25 Linux PC.

Re:Ardino competitor? (3, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723244)

It is a £25 Linux PC.

Re:Ardino competitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723258)

I truly hope you are a troll...

If not i fear for America...

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

lucidlyTwisted (2371896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723264)

That's what you have with the Pi - a full GNU/Linux system. There's demos of it doing all kinds of crazy stuff, e.g. running Quake.
About the only thing it does not come with is an enclosure.
And if you are confused about price variations - that's because there are two model.
I can't wait to get my hands on one.

$75 all-in-one GNU PC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723452)

Sweet!

So, what I could do is get a monitor that has some extra space in it, put this board with the necessary cutouts for peripherals and I'll have an all in one GNU PC!

And with refrub 20+ inch monitors going for $50; I can have an all-in-one for $75 US!

Re:$75 all-in-one GNU PC (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723684)

Composite or HDMI monitor.
Unfortunatelly Raspberry Pi does not have VGA output - the Broadcom SoC used it's a "mobile phone" version and it has only HDMI, Composite & DSI outputs (for direct LCD flat-panel connection)
The SoCs with VGA output were unfortunatelly too expensive.

Re:$75 all-in-one GNU PC (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723782)

...or DVI monitor, which is the same thing, except you probably won't be able to do HDCP. (whew, almost typed DHCP there. acronym soup, oh it hurts.) I have two 19" LCDs I got for $10 a piece just sitting around waiting for a project like this. I also have a 20" LCD which I occasionally use as a second monitor which has component, s-video, vga, and dvi... and a USB hub. Pairing it with a R-Pi would make it fairly complete and there might even be room for the little one inside, but you could still connect a more powerful computer to it.

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723710)

That's what you have with the Pi - a full GNU/Linux system.

I don't know about "full"...I suspect that having limited RAM and running off an SD card will blunt the user experience a bit.

Re:Ardino competitor? (2)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723308)

It's not an Arduino competitor but runs a normal, general purpose Linux distro of your choice.
However, you also have to provide an enclosure, a SD card and a 5V charger with USB plug for power.

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723394)

If it's not fully assembled on my receipt, I'd like to assemble it myself and save even more money with an even cheaper device. Why pay for Chinese assemblers and shipping through China?

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723574)

I suspect that it's actually far cheaper and easier to ship you an assembled board than an unassembled board. Shipping stuff like this over from China in a container is really cheap. Also, to disrupt the manufacturing process and ship a bag of bits would add extra cost because that's actually harder to automate.

If you get the Gert board that they mention (a break-out board that gives you lots of IO options for hardware projects) you do get to assemble that yourself :)

Re:Ardino competitor? (2)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723714)

If you are able to solder by yourself BGA package-on-package components, congratulations. Over 99.9% of the potential buyers are not, so it will only come pre-assembled.
You DO have to reach for the soldering iron if you want to use the GPIO,SPI,I2C & UART pins to connect a 1.27mm pitch header to the board.

Re:Ardino competitor? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723956)

If it's not fully assembled on my receipt, I'd like to assemble it myself and save even more money with an even cheaper device. Why pay for Chinese assemblers and shipping through China?

Then why pay for the board at all? First, you get your hands on some silicon...

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724198)

The primary chip on this thing is a mobile phone chip in a fine pitch (think it's probablly 0.5mm) BGA with ram mounted on-top in a POP configuration. I'd think the number of hobbyists who could reliablly solder such a thing is tiny and all the failures would make a customer service nightmare.

Plus broadcom don't seem to like letting the general public have thier chips for some reason.

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723510)

Apart from the price, the overlap with Arduino is pretty small.

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723598)

I was hoping this was something to put a monitor, keyboard and mouse on - as is - and have a $25 Linux PC.

It is.

Not all small, bare PCB embedded devices are Arduino's. The two are completely different animals.

Re:Ardino competitor? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723952)

"So, this is basically an Ardino competitor?"

This thing will kick the arduinos ass to the moon and back and then curb stomp it so hard it's not funny.

Arduino is a 3rd graders toy compared to this.

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723360)

On a USB hub!

Its been imagined already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723726)

Its called a BRAMBLE.

(Think about it,,,)

Re:Imagine a beowulf cluster of these! (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723738)

Won't work - The Raspberry Pi USB ports are host-only.
But you can have one on a switch (with Rev.B)

Even Cheaper DIY? (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723390)

They're assembling these in Chinese factories. Which are cheap, but not $0. They're shipped from there to the consumers in EU and US (and others), which also costs more than $0 each.

If hobbyists could assemble them ourselves, they could be even cheaper than $25. And it's primarily hobbyists who are their market. How about it?

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (2)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723426)

Depends where you are in the world. The Pi isn't being made in the UK because you pay a flat fee on each component imported. It's far cheaper to simply pay the fee once for the complete product....

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723928)

If you are going to bitch about the customs issue please at least learn what you are talking about. Customs duty is a percentage not a per-item fee.

The problem is that the percentage varies by "type of goods", the complete assembly falls under a category that attracts no duty whereas at least some of the component parts fall under categories that do attract duty.

Unfortunately because the Pi guys haven't released either thier BOM or the quotes they got for construction it's kinda hard to tell how significant the duty issue really is in their case.

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723430)

You are talented enough at soldiering that you can do the work for the CPU, SD card, and hdmi port? Damn your good.

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723456)

It cannot be assembled by the hobbyist. Most places that assemble boards would struggle with it. It requires machine assembly of a precise nature due to small components and the mounting thereof apparently. No kits.

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723484)

I was being sarcastic... :P

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723658)

It's not actually that hard. I've hand soldered fine pitch SMD devices (0.4mm pitch LQFP, 0.5mm TQFP / TSSOP etc) with just a normal soldering iron with a normal pointy tip, and many people are hand soldering QFN (leadless). BGA is a bit more of a challenge, but the people who make the Schmartboard have tutorials on how to solder BGAs to their boards and it doesn't look all that hard. The real problem with BGA is re-work - you can't inspect them, and if there's a bad solder joint, you can't fix it without removing, reballing and resoldering the whole device (which is why I avoid doing BGA myself).

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723704)

Schmartboard only go down to 1mm pitch BGA, the SoC is 0.4. This picture was posted on the RaspberryPi site.

http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w143/JamesHughes_photos/RaspberryPi/2011-10-01-018.jpg

If you can solder that, nice going....

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723440)

I think you miss the point -

It costs less to create and assemble the full product elsewhere and send it to the EU/US than it would do to buy the parts in the EU/US or have it assembled in the EU/US.

There's a post on their blog about this exact issue with regards to tax. Components taxed, finished product untaxed, with regards to importing things from abroad.

And unless the difference was HUGE, it wouldn't be worth doing it even if you could - people would expect a reduced price if they are DIY, but you wouldn't be able to ONLY reduce it by as much as it costs to assemble (because that's literally pence on an assembly line in a factory doing them all day). You really want to DIY it for $0.50 cheaper than buying a finished product? The admin costs alone would make it less profitable already. Most of the cost is in the components.

This is pretty much why China makes 99% of the stuff we see in the shops. For crazy tax reasons, and the fact that they produce in bulk, quicker (did you not see that the UK production would take 2-3 months instead of 2-3 weeks?) and cheaper, it's easier to send designs to China, have them source components, assemble them, test them and ship them to EU/US than it ever would be to do even one part of the process in the EU/US.

If you don't believe me, have a look at the OpenPandora project - still about 2-3 years behind schedule and the price has rocketed because they didn't bother to keep tabs on a large US company they used (which resulted in higher costs, poor reliability, thousands of PCB's sitting idle and rottiing before they could be soldered, etc.) and they had to switch to Germany to finish off the very first batch still and things are *STILL* taking months. But the components from the Chinese companies they used have been available since day one (putting aside stupid project management issues like expecting a Chinese factory to make thousands of cables from a unique design after a 3-year wait with no word from the OP team, and expecting the same price to do so as you were quoted at the start).

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723478)

They are basically impossible for hobbyists to assemble without specialised equipment. Soldering is done by reflow - the company would need to supply a solder mask stencil to every purchaser. These are usually made from stainless steel, are reused hundreds or thousands of times, and can be more expensive to produce than a single circuit board. For highest reliability, most components require specific temperature profile curves to be followed in a programmable reflow oven. If you mess up the soldering of a BGA chip, they need to be removed and reballed, which is very difficult without specialised equipment. Automated circuit board assembly is very efficient - components are supplied on reels or on trays and are placed by a robot. For a kit, someone would need to count out, pack, and label each component - the kit market is comparatively small, so there aren't industrial sized machines that will do this automatically. So even if you could buy a kit, it would probably be more expensive than a fully assembled board, and there would be a minuscule chance of it working the first time. If you did actually have the skills and equipment to assemble such a board at home, you would know that the assembled price is so low that it would not be worth your time.

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723538)

They're assembling these in Chinese factories. Which are cheap, but not $0. They're shipped from there to the consumers in EU and US (and others), which also costs more than $0 each.

If hobbyists could assemble them ourselves, they could be even cheaper than $25. And it's primarily hobbyists who are their market. How about it?

I think they've addressed this on the Pi website... BGA soldering is not much of a hobbyist endeavour. Also, you'd be surprised how import duties applied per component add up when buying a parts kit compared to a single board - contact your local lawmaker about the idiocy of that particular law and what it's doing for local manufacturing (of course, some bright politician probably thinks it's better for the country to offshore all that filthy manufacturing and let the peasants go back to mining coal or whatever it was they did before factories...)

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723636)

A cautionary note for people hoping to build these devices themselves – I don’t believe it’s feasible to assemble it manually, and the PoP memory configuration we use is beyond the reach even of some professional assembly houses. - Eben

he wrote this in one of his answers in the interview that is linked in the summary

Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723980)

You can solder BGA chips? then you are better than 99% of all home electronics people.

traitorous bitches (0)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723396)

Does America need Chi.com computer parts or systems at any price? Get that sweatshop labor-slave licking on the glue to make sure it REALLY fits! Too bad a tribe of red In'juns don't toss those fuckers into the first American Harbor they enter. Then go after the 3-piece suit importers ... Might spread to other import products .. hehehe ... Now **that's** a bloodbath worth having ....

Re:traitorous bitches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723432)

What in the absolute fuck are you talking about?

Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (2, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723424)

$25 is under valued given the demand that there is for this device. They should consider auctioning some percentage of the first batch on ebay, and then use the extra profits to fund further development. I know plenty of people who would happily bid up to $75 if given the chance.

Re:Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723454)

Pricing it higher would defeat the point. They wanted to make a computer that was affordable and reasonably powerful.

Re:Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (2)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723604)

They could have sold 10,000 early access/ developer boards at $50 a piece, maybe even doing a 'buy one give one' promotion like the OLPC project. It does kind of defeat the purpose of computers for all, but it'd also helped them guarantee future production...

Re:Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723786)

Didn't they auction off beta boards on eBay?

Re:Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (5, Informative)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723462)

Whoa - they already did. Did you watch the video? The first went for $5000

Re:Auctioning versus selling, optimum pricing (3, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723930)

I agree completely."Not charging enough" seems to be a classic blunder for these kind of grassroots startup hardware efforts. I watched the Open Pandora and Always Innovating Touchbook under development for years, until the more established industry finally got around to producing mass-market semi-equivalents and their window of glory was passed by before they could ramp up. There was enough demand for either that they could have easily taken preorders for twice or 3 times the price they wanted. Pre-order customers, frustrated with how long it was taking, would literally offer to pay more to take delivery sooner, but ... they were fixated on selling their product for some magic-number price, rather than what they could get for it.

Maybe some potential (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723438)

If you can buy a case for this board, then maybe you could build a nice little streaming box, similar to Roku. If it does support 1080p video, I would put this board in a small NAS unit and have it be my video library and IPTV box.

Re:Maybe some potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38723642)

It's the same SoC as the Roku2, so yes, it does support 1080p30 H264

HD Alarm clock... (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723444)

Is it wrong that just I want one of these to put a gutted version of android and deskclock on and use it as my alarm clock via my tv and receiver using hdmi...

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723458)

Wrong? No. Awesome? Pretty much.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723494)

What does an ordinary Alarm Clock cost? Economics says no, you're spot-on.

On a practical side, I'd want some kind of audio-out in parallel with the TV, or at least a way for the Pi to turn the TV on so you're not burning 70W all night long for the backlight to heat up a black screen.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723552)

Yeah leaving the tv on is stupid but I was wondering about an ir controllers using usb or something though my tv and reciever can be powered on by android apps so they probably never fully power down.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724010)

"or at least a way for the Pi to turn the TV on so you're not burning 70W all night long for the backlight to heat up a black screen."

Funny, my 32" LCD burns 7 watts for the LED backlight, buy a more modern TV for the project if power is a high concern.

The other problem is that it would be a giant night light. even at the lowest setting and a black scene it drops more light in the room than a typical nightlight.

Finally, why the TV? Gut a PSone screen for the composite out and use that in a all in one cool device.

Or just get a Chumby and hack it to save time and money.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724332)

I may understand it incorrectly, but any TV passing reasonable electricity standards (in Europe, at least) should probably be pulling 1w on standby mode. HDMI CEC, should it be compatible, should allow the device to pull a TV out of standby and do what is needed. I may be underestimating the problem, but I believe the hardware should do what you need it to do, the only worry is if both sides have compatible support.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723522)

I was going to slap a Bluetooth dongle and maybe a 3G dongle on it (via a USB hub) and turn it into a car-GPS-monitoring system (like I've been trying to build for ages with a Mini-ITX system and never really enjoyed the hardware side of getting it to work / fit in a small case and run off the car sensibly).

The software is easy on Linux, the interfacing isn't too tricky, and being able to text your car and get its location for less than the price of the locked-in GPS monitoring devices I've seen sounds like a good idea (and if I can interface with it myself and have it do more fancy stuff at the car-end, even better - e.g. tie it in with an OBD-II reader, etc.).

I even saw an "SD Card RAID" device in my local electronics store - throw up to 4 SD cards in it and it appears as one USB drive. Was tempting to buy that just to store the GPS data on.

I work in a school but I can't see them buying into it seeing as its way behind even the staff's capabilities, but for tiny, low-power hobby projects it seems to have enough oomph to do things that larger computers or specialised electronics interfacing would normally be needed for. I'm a computer guy, not a circuit builder, and that - to me - seems to be the best use of it. Make a simple circuit and throw more processor power and a full OS at the job.

The nearest competitor for things like that is GumStix but they are expensive in comparison and have nowhere near the capability at the moment.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (2)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723874)

>> being able to text your car and get its location

My car never seems to go anywhere on its own.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724336)

Nice that you live in a nice area. ;-)

My purpose would be a) security monitoring (I text the car, it tells me where it is), b) location awareness (car "knows" if it's moving and sends me a text), c) Finding my car in a strange town (I'm very forgetful and lost my car for over an hour once in Hannover).

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724034)

Arduino+GSM shield with Gps = what you want that is easier to build and far more efficient.

Been there, done that. I still have the T-shirt. Based it on one of the projects that balooning people posted.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724296)

Arduino GSM /GPRS / GPS-Shield: 126,05 â
  optional GSM Antenna âoeAT-TG.09.0113â : 9,92 â
  optional Power Supply: 8,40 â
  Arduino GSM / GPRS / GPS-Shield â" Kit : 158,82 â

excl. VAT. plus Postage.

Not including the £/â 50 to buy an Arduino (and VAT is about 20% at the moment).

It would cost me less to buy a small netbook than it would to buy the shield on its own! Or five Raspberry Pi's. Or one Raspberry Pi, a bluetooth USB adaptor, a bluetooth GPS (dirt cheap, pound-store stuff now) and a 3G dongle (which places will throw at you now to get you out of the store) about 2-3 times over AT LEAST. Hence I could build three of these projects for the price of starting to build one with an Arduino.

This is my point. I have all the necessary hardware to make a standard PC do this already (several times over). Raspberry Pi makes it cheap enough and powerful enough to do in a portable, low-power device using the same software, such that I don't need Arduino or have to start everything from scratch with new hardware. And that's why I've always just completely ignored Arduino - because of the price of even the initial setup.

Arduino is fine if you have money to burn or expertise and time to do lots of stuff yourself. Otherwise, give me Raspberry Pi and an ARM Linux repository and I could knock up the same project, quicker, for less, and even re-use it later on other hardware if necessary.

Re:HD Alarm clock... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723898)

So you're going to leave your TV on all night just so you have an alarm clock display? Have you thought of the power consumption costs?

First batch to be the $35 version (4, Informative)

Senior Frac (110715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723468)

The post is a bit misleading. My understanding is that this first production batch is to be the $35 version which is what the developers are clamoring for.

You need to have the Adobe Flash Player 9 to view (1, Flamebait)

xororand (860319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38723906)

I'm saddened by the fact that Slashdot staff deliberately ostracize non-users of the proprietary security nightmare that is Adobe Flash.
Unlike open and standardized formats, Flash is not even available on most platforms.
Slashdot, do you not remember your roots?
It's 2012 and possibilities to publish video in open ways are ubiquitous.

Vimeo, YouTube - both offer HTML5 video.
Or, if you want to host on your own, use the relatively new GNU licensed MediaGoblin [mediagoblin.org] .

Re:You need to have the Adobe Flash Player 9 to vi (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724094)

Flash or non-flash, the slashdot videos are not viewable from behind corporate firewalls allowing only ports 80 & 443 :(

Re:You need to have the Adobe Flash Player 9 to vi (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724346)

Don't feel bad, even on Win 7 with Flash 11, having added ooyala.com to my URL Filter whitelist, I still can't see the video either... At least now I see the black box so I know there's something I'm missing!

Solar powered? (2)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724040)

Out of curiosity, I'm wondering whether it would be possible to hook a Raspberry Pi up to a 10'' LCD display and make it solar powered? There is a lot of sun where I live.

How large would the solar panels have to be to provide the power on an ordinary sunny day?

Re:Solar powered? (1)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724118)

I think the specs say it'll run on 5v, which is four AA batteries. Seems like a modest solar panel should provide enough oomph for that. Of course, you'll also have to factor in the monitor and peripherals to your energy budget, and maybe consider a battery or there will be no after-dark shashdot browsing.

another video with no transcript (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724324)

is it really that hard to add a transcript for a video ?
please please please add sub titles or transcripts to all these "slashdot" videos

alternatively please send me one USB sound card and nice comfy head phones.

signed AC

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