Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer manufactured and designed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi foundation with the intention of teaching basic computer science to school students and every other person interested in computer hardware, programming and DIY-Do-it Yourself projects.

The Raspberry Pi is manufactured in three board configurations through licensed manufacturing deals with Newark element14 (Premier Farnell), RS Components and Egoman. These companies sell the Raspberry Pi online. Egoman produces a version for distribution solely in China and Taiwan, which can be distinguished from other Pis by their red coloring and lack of FCC/CE marks. The hardware is the same across all manufacturers.

The Raspberry Pi has a Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SoC), which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU and was originally shipped with 256 megabytes of RAM, later upgraded (Model B & Model B+) to 512 MB. It does not include a built-in hard disk or solid-state drive, but it uses an SD card for booting and persistent storage, with the Model B+ using a MicroSD.

The Foundation provides Debian and Arch Linux ARM distributions for download. Tools are available for Python as the main programming language, with support for BBC BASIC (via the RISC OS image or the Brandy Basic clone for Linux), C, Java and Perl.

A brief history of ultra-cheap and small computers:

Computers were very expensive during the 1950’s. Computers of that time were used in weather forecasting, plotting values of logarithmic functions and other complex calculations. They were huge machines with little or no operating systems. They needed dedicated air-conditioned rooms and special trained operators. Examples

of these include the ENIAC, the ZUSE Z3 etc. Then vacuum tubes were replaced by bipolar transistors, which made those huge machines a bit smaller. The invention of Integrated Circuit(IC) gave computers a huge leap in terms of computing power and a basis for personal computers.

Brief description of System on Chip (SoC)

Since smartphones and tablets are basically smaller computers, they require pretty much the same components we see in desktops and laptops in order to offer us all the amazing things they can do (apps, music and video playing, 3D gaming support, advanced wireless features, etc).

But smartphones and tablets do not offer the same amount of internal space as desktops and laptops for the various components needed such as the logic board, the processor, the RAM, the graphics card, and others. That means these internal parts need to be as small as possible, so that device manufacturers can use the remaining space to fit the device with a long-lasting battery life.

Thanks to the wonders of miniaturization, SoC manufacturers, like Qualcomm, Nvidia or Texas Instruments, can place some of those components on a single chip, the System on a Chip that powers smartphones.