The Kinds of People Who Can Use a $35 Computer

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The debut of the $35 Raspberry Pi computer has the masses so excited they have crashed online retail sites. But who are these all these people so interested in this bare-bones computer? We get that it's cheap, but it's budget for a reason. There's not much to it -- just a circuit board, sockets for a keyboard, monitor and Ethernet cable, and an all-in-one system on a chip that runs on a 700MHz ARM11 processor with 128MB of RAM. That all adds up to what looks like a credit card sized motherboard. No monitor, no operating system -- no nothing. Yet, we can see the appeal for a certain type of people. 

Aspiring programmers. The idea behind the product is that it forces users to learn to code applications, since it has none of that built in. It works on a Linux operating system and once plugged into a monitor and keyboard works like a computer without anything at all installed. Raspberry Pi provides useful YouTube tutorials that takes newbs through coding, starting with basics, working up to programming actual applications. 

A coder looking to save money. It's way cheap and it works. With a little knowledge of programming, users can use it to do a whole bunch of things computers do. For example, one user figured out a way to run the computer game Quake III, as the video demonstration below shows. 

Others have worked it to stream video and some have even connected it to Airplay, working as a sort of makeshift streamer box.  

Nostalgic computer nerds. The back to basics idea has coders learning to program old-school style, like this guy who taught himself to program in Python/Pygam, or this one reminiscing about his video game programming days. A pretty cheap way to relive the glory days. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.