Raspberry Pi slowly trickles down to Australia

The credit card-sized computer will not be sold through any resellers, according to distributor, RS Components.
The credit card-sized computer, Raspberry Pi.

The credit card-sized computer, Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi, the credit card-sized computer, is slowly making its way down to Australia but resellers won’t get a slice of the pie.

The low-cost device, which sells for $US35, was originally developed by UK-based charity, Raspberry Pi Foundation, to encourage the study of computer science in the education sector. It was met with high demand from beyond the education space.

The first batch started shipping mainly in the UK last month, after some delay, and the second batch is now ready for global distribution.

Besides the drawcard of being portable and cheap, Raspberry Pi has high video and graphic performance capabilities. It is a single-board computer with a Broadcom ARM processor and Videocore 4 GPU.

Raspberry Pi is powered through a microUSB socket and requires an SD card to boot up. It runs a Linux-based OS that is customisable by the user. It does not support Windows OS.

RS Components is one of two global distributors for the pint-sized computer. The company does not plan to make Raspberry Pi accessible to resellers.

“There’s no margin there,” RS Components country manager, Jeremy Edward, told ARN. “If we put resellers on-board, the resellers will have to sell it at a higher price.”

According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation website, the charity organisation is not taking requests for people to be resellers at this stage.

RS Components does not expect to make money off this venture but hopes the high-demand for Raspberry Pi will raise the company’s profile.

The distributor’s traditional clientele is computer engineers so it will begin to market the Raspberry Pi to that group. RS Components even has an online resource portal, DesignSpark, to aid engineers in learning how to customise and experiment with the computer.

But it has not forgotten the device’s initial purpose and has already initiated discussions with universities to introduce Raspberry Pi to students.

The biggest hurdle now is meeting the demand for Raspberry Pi. Before the distributor starts marketing the device to the education sector it first has to clear the backlog of orders.

So far about 237,000 people have registered their interest for the computer and only around 5000 have been shipped worldwide.

According to Edward, only 63 have been shipped to Australia and New Zealand.

But RS Components has been working closely with the manufacturer and promises to ramp up production to meet high demands.

The distributor does not have a set time on when it can fulfil orders that have already been placed.

“But we’re getting there,” Edwards said.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @spandaslui