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Raspberry Pi $25 thumb-size computer

Frederick Garcia, left, and Ligia Salcedo work on

Frederick Garcia, left, and Ligia Salcedo work on a computer in their kindergarten classroom at the Dryden school in Westbury. Credit: Newsday File / Karen Wiles Stabile

Want a computer so small it can dangle from your keychain and so cheap that you can conceivably donate an entire new lab room of computers to a local school? In a year, that could be a reality.

Raspberry Pi Foundation, a United Kingdom-registered non-for-profit company, is on the verge of creating a $25 ultra-compact computer that would open up the Internet and technology to millions around the world.

Dubbed the Raspberry Pi, the thumb-size computer is equipped with a 700 MHz ARM 11 processor, 128 MB of RAM, a USB port, SD memory card slot and an HDMI output. It runs on Linux, a free open-source operating system capable of launching Twitter, email, word processor, a Web browser, music player and just about every basic computing function.

If you add a cheap 16GB SD card ($20), a multi-USB hub ($8), a USB mini Wi-Fi dongle ($10), connect a mouse and keyboard (just about everyone seems to have an old one laying around) and any monitor that connects to composite or HDMI – you’ve got a fully functional PC that outperforms desktops from a few years back.

David Braben and his United Kingdom-registered non-for-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation introduced the prototype to "promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing," according to the organization's website.

Braben told the BBC that he hopes that the manufacturing process will be soon finalized so the company can begin rolling out the Raspberry Pi by next year.

Check out the BBC video below for more information.


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