This is really a very good collection of the possibilities demonstration by Raspberry Pi. To my best of knowledge this will be really a very helpful article for the students and learners for designing projects using the modules. Yup many will be able to participate in further development of the vast possibilities.
Given that this is put out by a non-profit organization and the Broadcom data sheet is not available, I would be very leery of using RPi in a production scenario. Better to use something like the Beagle Bone from TI where you can be assured of getting the boards you need as well the information to resolve any issues.
RPi may become a victim of its own success in that some of the companies donating the chips to keep the cost down may decide they have donated enough. Also did I mention that Broadcom refuses to release the data sheet?
Funny how this RaspberryPi is hyped so much. For prototyping and idea development it is OK. But with most "applications" you need an extra micro to do the work (see the 15 accessoires). The Python and Scratch languages are available for any other linux-a-like system.
IMHO if you want to do something serious, you cannot proceed with RaspberryPi. Try to get a datasheet or small quantities. A standard i.MX or AM335x are better choices. I decided to give away my two Raspberries and I put my aces on the Cortex-A8. The BeagleBone Black or the OlinuXino are alternatives worth looking at for the low end and some Variscite DIMM modules for the better work.
I agree with the other posters. The R-Pi was designed, produced and marketed for non-commercial, educational use. Its not robust, but at this price, you can buy a few replacements for the cost of one robust "commercial" board.
A quick Google search showed me >500,000 have been made as of last April. That _is_ high volume for the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Once you learn what an ARM and some other chips can do and you have a commercial product in mind, the part selection fun begins from a choice of literally hundreds of ARM variants from over a dozen vendors. You can get ARM SoC's for < $5 in volume.
for $35 or $25, there is a ton you can teach with these. Having funded (4 board + other hardware; drivers, h-bridge, relay boards, calbes, power supplies, keyboard, mice, usb hubs, wifi, LCD... ) a small group of kids programming these in python, I think they are perfect. You can spend more but I don't see the return on extra dollars spent for education. They enough computer to teach so many basic topics (ethernet, gpio, pwm, spi, sci, threading, opengl, (hopefully opencl in the future), audio, unix/linux/bsd, scripting, c, perl, python, web server....) The limited resourse will also foster better enigneering. H.264/VC-1 license is also a big plus.
Have played on AVR micros but I think will stick with raspian for the teaching. Just so much more to choose from.
FYI, I am making the Guzunty available in the US/Canada at-cost on Ebay and Amazon. This board is a great introduction to the world of programmable logic for fun and education, without the intimidation of large-scale FPGAs.
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