LONDON – A pre-production batch of the low-cost credit-card sized computers being developed by British not-for-profit foundation Raspberry Pi is set to raise thousands of dollars for the charity by being sold on the internet auction site Ebay.
In an effort to raise money, the foundation decided to auction off ten of the tiny PCs. The production run boards are intended to retail for $35 and $25 each, depending on the features, but bidding has reached £2,100 (about $3,300) on the first board to go up on Ebay. It has reached in excess of about £600 (about $900) on most of the Raspberry Pi boards.
The Raspberry Pi, which is based on an ARM11-based processor from Broadcom running Linux, is due to become available for sale more generally this month, once it emerges from final beta testing. The computer is low priced because it comes as a bare board and without many of the things that consumers take for granted, such as a display or a keyboard. The intention is that hobbyists will source those themselves and that the board can be connected to a television or computer monitor for its display. Raspberry Pi Foundation is preparing two models to go on sale; priced at $25 and $35
(about £16 and £22, respectively).
The pre-production batch boards all work like the retail boards but have a couple of differences according to Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. These are that the initial beta batch had an error on the PCB trace – which has been corrected by hand –and was loaded with an over-sized SD-card connector. The connector works but because it is oversized it sticks our beyond the edge of the PCB, Upton said in a YouTube video.
These boards form a limited edition of ten units with two being auctioned each day over the next few days. Raspberry Pi will provide a certificate stating the board is one of the first ten ever built and will throw in a USB power supply and an SD card containing Linux. However, there is no warranty or support offered.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity that was formed to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.
Auctioning early production units as a fund raising tactic is very creative. Perhaps an article title "Raspberry Pi computer prices soar on Ebay FOR CHARITY" would clarify that the price escalation was associated with charity and not associated with extreme demand for ordinary units or people being cheated by eBay.
Sorry I didn't make it clear; Raspberry Pi is the charity that will benefit.
In fact I think they are using the auction as a way of boot-strapping some cash to pay for the manufacture of subsequent production-run computers.
The potential of a low cost ARM board is tremendous. Product development can't be easier. :) The popularity of the board goes up as there are enough support documents to get people start in no time. Needless to say, a pre-loaded OS will help. I can't wait to own one myself.
I like their move to auction the first 10 board for charity purpose. Which are the organization going to be benefit?
As far as saving when buying on eBay goes:
Use a site like Ebuyersedge.com to set up saved searches. You get an e-mail whenever a matching item is listed. Especially good for "Buy It Now"s.
Try a site like Typojoe.com to find some great deals with items that have main key words misspelled in the title. Other buyers might never see them.
For auctions, use a sniping service such as Hidbid.com to place your bid. It'll bid in the last few seconds, helping to save $ and avoid shill bidding.