Rating: 2nd generation board has mobile potential
Ever since we first heard about the Raspberry Pi project, here at GoMobile News we thought that the one thing missing is a mobile element. Well now with the launch of a new 512MB board version of the ‘Model B’ device, that is rapidly becoming a possibility. For those who haven’t heard of the Pi, it is a revolutionary, credit-card sized computer aimed at encouraging people to understand what truly goes on ‘under the hood’ of a computing device. With double the RAM, the Raspberry Pi should be able to run a future version of an Android 4.0 operating system. As the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity, it actually needs help from more commercial ventures.
So the new device is actually being made available to members of the element14 Community here for £29.95. It should arrive in about three week’s time.
That’s actually the same price as the original version. The new board is being distributed by electronics distributor, Premier Farnell [LON:PFL].
The 512MB version is actually being manufactured for element14 in the UK by Sony UKTec.
Now here’s the best news. According to Mike Buffham, global head of EDE for Premier Farnell, “The extra memory also enables higher performance applications and services – there is real potential to do things like add a touchscreen, then a power back and suddenly the Pi becomes mobile.”
So, even if you won’t really be able to turn the smartphone, you should at least be able to create an Android based tablet from the new board.
For the techies amongst you, the CPU is a 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core (part of the ARM11 family) – and well all know that ARM designs are buried in all the best mobile devices.
We are trying to work out how you’d add Wi-fi support but seeing as it has a 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 onboard network, you should be able to stick a Wi-fi dongle into that. The beast even supports HDMI.
512 MB of RAM also means that both CPU and GPU both now have sufficient RAM to function optimally.
We’re not sure whose going to create a version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) for the Pi first but maybe the guys at Cyanogenmod will.
A proud Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Observed, “The next generation device opens up new possibilities, and can help open up the vast potential developer community.”
” We’re already seeing people starting to develop their own applications and use the Raspberry Pi in ways we would have never thought possible.”
Perhaps Qualcomm might offer them a cheap cellular chipset so a third version really could become a mobile phone?
Or is Broadcom’s involvement in the project going to stifle that?