Unless you’ve been living under a rock or traveled to a place without internet over the Thanksgiving holiday, odds are you’ve seen that the tiny, $5 Raspberry Pi Zero was released over the weekend to smashing results. What you may not yet have heard is that if you waited to get your hands on one, you could be waiting quite a while before you get another opportunity. The latest developer’s computer from the Raspberry Pi foundation completely sold out its stock of 20,000 units in less than 24 hours, making it not only one of the cheapest computers in existence, but also the fastest-selling computer in history.
For those of you with kids, you might remember the great Tickle Me Elmo fiasco that dominated Christmas a few years back. This coveted toy made in limited quantities became the end-all, be-all gift for little children across America, and absolutely nothing else would suffice. The Raspberry Pi Zero is this year’s Tickle Me Elmo for grown-up geeks. After a record-breaking sellout time, so-called “entrepreneurs” are now selling the tiny gadget on sites like eBay for upwards of ten times the price in some cases. But the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation don’t want you to get scalped on the price, and head of communications Liz Upton re-iterated that in a statement over the weekend. “We will continue to make Zeros for as long as you guys want them. It looks like demand will continue to outstrip supply for a while if yesterday’s rush is anything to go by, but we’re doing our very best to keep channels open, and we advise you not to buy from scalpers on eBay, because… karma.” So what’s so great about the Raspberry Pi Zero?
Let’s start with the obvious – this is a $5 computer small enough that it can actually be folded discreetly into a five dollar bill. And it’s not an underpowered mini-machine by any means; as a matter of fact, it’s actually 40% faster than the first generation Pi thanks to a 1GHz ARM11 core processor. Packing half a GB (512 MB) of RAM, it doubles that of the original Model A. It also includes a micro USB port for data and power, along with the now-standard microSD slot and a mini HDMI socket for 1080p 60 frames-per-second video. Begging the question – what has propelled the little Raspberry Pi Foundation to move even further into “world’s most affordable computer” territory? According to Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, “Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important. Even in the developed world, a programmable computer is a luxury item for a lot of people, and every extra dollar that we ask someone to spend decreases the chance that they’ll choose to get involved.” In other words, this little company is looking out for us; the little guy.
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