My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Raspberry Pi US$25 computer coming in November 2011AD - Post PC Survival and PC Revolution for the Masses

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Raspberry Pi US$25 computer coming in November 2011AD - Post PC Survival and PC Revolution for the Masses

Mater atrium necessitas
Necessity is the mother of invention.

Anon Latin Proverb, which means Lindsworth Deer wrote it originally

Ever since former Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared that we are now in the “Post –PC Era” at the launch of the Apple iPad 2 on Wednesday April 2nd 2011 AD and noted in the article “The PC isn't dead, but it's still a post-PC era”, published JULY 29, 2011 9:32 AM PDT by Gordon Haff, CNET News - The Pervasive Data Center, evidence has been mounting to support his claim. This as per my analysis in my Geezam blog article entitled “Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction?”.

Apple iPad sales projection of twenty two million units (22,000,000) this coming Fourth Quarter of 2011AD as prognosticated by investment analyst Jason Schwarz as stated in the article “iPad sales to hit 22 million over holiday quarter, says analyst”, published AUGUST 22, 2011 8:45 AM PDT By Lance Whitney, CNET News – Apple are certainly an indication.

Tablets are now the replacements for the now extinct Netbook and the now-slowly-dying Notebook Laptop is being phased out to be replaced by ChromeBooks and UltraBooks as I had earlier predicted in my blog article entitled “Intel and the UltraBook -  Stephen King's MacBook and iPad Thinner Hex”. Low Voltage processors that are more Thermal Noise tolerant as reported in my blog article entitled Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Processors Intel & Poison Ivy Bridge Processors - 22nm in an Iso-Linear of Their Own” are one the horizon, with Iso-Linear or 3D Processors being the next big thing in computing as stated in the article “IBM, 3M team up on 3D semiconductor 'glue'”, published September 7, 2011 10:56 AM PDT
By Larry Dignan, CNET News - Cutting Edge.

And with Google Android kicking up a storm in both the Tablet and Smartphone realm as well as in the so-called “White” Label Tablet segment of this nascent market as noted in my blog article entitled “Android Tablets Marketshare gain over the Apple iPad - Clear and Present Danger”, things can only get worse and third party manufacturers begin making docking cradles, Bluetooth peripherals i.e. keyboard, mouse, thumb drives and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) External Hard-drives, effectively making these tablets portable PC’s.

But what of the “PC” mentioned in the “Post-PC Era”?

The current trend of falling prices for RAM Memory Modules for computers due to lower than expected PC and Laptop demand and a shift of production towards RAM Memory Modules and SSD (Solid State Drives) as noted by analyst IHS iSuppli in the article “Pricing of RAM to Plunge, Analyst Says”, published August 29, 2011 12:50 pm By Agam Shah, IDG News, PCWorld provides very strong evidence for this phenomenon.

So too is the recent News of the drifting apart of Microsoft and Intel in a world now dominated by Tablets and Smartphones as stated in the article “Microsoft, Intel chart separate paths in the post-PC era”, published September 13, 2011, 4:00pm PT By Ryan Kim, GigaOM. Their strained relationship in this “Post-PC Era” means that they have to demonstrate their individual products, Software and Low-Voltage Processors, can make it in this new paradigm.

Effectively, the breaking of the WinTel (Windows Intel) Partnerships by Intel partnering with Google and Microsoft going the ARM chipset route means that the PC may be extinct by 2015AD as prognosticated in my blog article entitled “Tablets and the Future of the PC - Jurassic Park and License to Kill”.

Or at least, it may be changing form and in the process, fulfill Google’s Eric Schmidt desire to introduce Computer Programming as part of the curriculum for high school students worldwide, dispelling the myth of PC (Personal Computers) for IT (Information Technology) Students only as intoned in my blog article entitled “Computer programming and the coming 4G Explosion - Post-PC Era is Hyperventilating

Believe it or not, a USB Thumb Drive is in reality a mini PC. Combining this fact with a bit of British electronics know-how and a desire to help computing and teach computer programming to those who cannot afford the expensive WinTel machines but have only a television set, the Raspberry Pi Foundation had stumbled upon a solution dubbed the Raspberry Pi for only US$25 as stated in the article “Raspberry Pi: Computer on a stick for only $25”, published MAY 6, 2011 10:53 AM PDT By Eric Mack, CNET News – Crave.

Raspberry Pi Foundation and its aptly named product the Raspberry Pi is as ambitious as Nicholas Negroponte principal of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology's) Media Lab (2005) US$100 One Laptop Per Child Program to get children in Third World Countries access to computers and the US$35 Tablet from India as stated in the article “India unveils prototype of US$35 Tablet computer”, published Friday July 23 2010 by ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer, Yahoo News. On their website explaining the Raspberry Pi’s aims, quote: “We plan to develop, manufacture, and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. We expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world”.

This device, the Raspberry Pi takes a different slant in its quest to get more children interested in computer programming by instead taking advantage of the expected presence of the ever ubiquitous television set and reducing the computer down to a portable handheld circuit board with the following specs:

1.     700MHz ARM11
2.     128MB of SDRAM
3.     OpenGL ES 2.0
4.     1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
5.     Composite and HDMI video output
6.     USB 2.0
7.     SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
8.     General-purpose I/O
9.     Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

Production Alpha Units of the Raspberry Pi, which are about the size of a smartphone and a bit more expensive are slated to be shipped out to Educators in the Developing and Developed World to teach students computer programming by the end of the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD as stated in the article “Raspberry Pi $25 computer now in early production”, published AUGUST 16, 2011 12:24 PM PDT By Eric Mack, CNET News – Crave.

It is highly unlikely that this low margin device will catch the eye of the bigwigs in Silicon Valley. But with smartphones packing way more processing power and memory and the Motorola Atrix demonstrating the idea of a similar sized device connected to a shell [keyboard, screen] to make a computer, this US$25 should put them on their guard.

This as albeit is innocuous looking, its 35Watt low sub-US$100 entry cost and the fact that it is running a Linux Distribution should trouble the PC makers, who may be looking at yet another device that, were it to get the strong backing of a California Based Venture Capital Firm, may become the commercialized replacement for the PC much in the same way Tablets UltraBooks and Chromebooks are replacing Netbooks and Laptops.

How ironic: We may be witnessing a PC Revolution for the masses led by another Linux Distribution powered device designed from the ground up that normally plugs into a PC in this “Post-PC Era”, Rihanna Russian Roulette Style. The Raspberry Pi is literally a Pocket PC that may break the barrier as it relates to the adoption of computer programming among children from low income families who have a television set living in the developing world and a desire to learn programming.

In the process, it may be the game changer for the PC industry in much the same way the One Laptop Per Child Program eventually became Netbooks. 

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