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Raspberry Pi goes on sale, online Pi stalls collapse


February 29, 2012

Interest as the US$35 Raspberry Pi goes on sale crashes websites selling the credit card-sized Linux home computer (Image: RS Components)

Interest as the US$35 Raspberry Pi goes on sale crashes websites selling the credit card-sized Linux home computer (Image: RS Components)

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The Raspberry Pi went on sale just hours ago through UK electronics companies vendors Premier Farnell and RS Components, the latter quoting a price of GBP21.60 (US$34.43) for the enhanced-spec, credit card-sized Model B - the only one available for purchase today. I say "available" - unfortunately the websites of both vendors went down due to a high volume of traffic from hopefuls clamoring for their piece of the tiny Linux home computer.

"Been trying every 10 minutes from 6 am this morning [UK time] until now," said one disgruntled customer on the element14 forum, a community associated with Premier Farnell. However, not everyone was so unlucky, with users on the same forum reporting success in placing orders at the same website. The vendors are not alone in feeling the launch-day pressure, with the official Raspberry Pi Foundation website switching with a low-bandwidth static website while interest remains high.

Though widely reported as a product launch, some lucky Pi customers are reporting receipt of confirmation emails suggesting deliveries at the end of March. The Raspberry Pi Foundation admits that it has not yet received units from China. In view of this, "launch" sounds rather a strong word considering these are merely pre-orders.

At the time of writing both the Farnell and the RS Componenets websites seemed only to be allowing would-be Pi-owners to register interest, shelving (if only temporarily) the ability to purchase online. Though early batches will merely be sold through the two companies, it sounds as though they are soon to take over manufacturing as well as distribution (we previously reported on the financial difficulties faced by the Foundation in manufacturing the Raspberry Pi within the UK). The deal is good news for international customers, as both vendors have international supply chains, enabling overseas customers to (eventually) order from a local supplier.

Today's "launch" had looked likely earlier in the week when the Raspberry Pi Foundation had warned interested parties to look out for a big announcement at 6 a.m. UK-time on the morning of February 29.

Those interested in obtaining a Raspberry Pi are possibly best advised to keep on eye on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website, who will doubtless update vendor information as required. For now, sales are limited to a maximum of one per customer. If that.

Sources: Raspberry Pi Foundation

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Newark in the US and Canada are taking firm orders for next month delivery from Parnell. They are tacking on a $20 handling charge, however.

Bob Ehresman

What are the enhanced specs?

Dawar Saify

Newark has withdrawn $20 handling fee, claiming clerical error.

Bob Ehresman

I must be missing something. I think it's great to make computers available real cheap, but how do you use this thing?

It has no keyboard or screen? Do you need to connect it to an existing computer to use it? If so, then it's only any use to people who already have access to a computer.

And it has no case!!!!


@Adrien: Yes, you need a keyboard and screen, and an SD card to boot it up.


It's amazing to have such a cheap computer like this available. It's going to do wonders for improving the programming skills of our school children. I'm going to use my first RPi to be a 'smart house' server, initially to control my central heating, with a companion app of course :)

The forum on the Raspberry Pi website is full of interesting ideas of what others are going to do with theirs. I'm looking forward trying out all the open source projects as they develop. Given it's HD video capabilities I'm guessing the most common use people will put it to will be a media server.

Arctic Giraffe


The Pi has everything one would need to use it as a desktop - just add Television (Has an RS-170 and an HD out), keyboard and mouse. However, what has alot of folks excited about it is the potential to use it as a very smart embedded controller. The interface includes a bunch of GPIO pins, discreet I/O that can be easily employed to interact with the outside world. One thing I intend to do with a Pi is to manage my garage door opener with my cell phone. I can write a little C program or set up a little cgi web server on the Pi and use a discrete to drive a GPIO pin to trigger the manual control on the garage door opener. Pull an ethernet cable for it or hook up a WIFI dongle to it's USB to put it on my home network. I can use a browser on my phone to access it or write a little Android app to interact with the Pi. I might even do something clever on the phone where it stays in my pocket and when I cross a self defiined geofence very near home detected by an app on my phone, the door automatically rises. A little security to keep the burglars out.

Then I order another Pi and move on to the next project.

I have a 15 year old I would love to engage in this sort of activity, arm him for a technical education and career.

Cheers; Bob

Bob Ehresman
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