Why? Cuz I like this direction and it gives the home electronics hobbiest something else to play with! Whereas once upon a time, the "techies" could amuse themselves with the latest PC. More recently, tablets and phones scratched the itch. But now, the difference between newest and 2 generation back products is so small that the curious "tinkerer" is ready to go more primitive and create low cost items that perform very specific functions.
Ok, I'm really talking about myself, but I assume that there are, well, 1.5 million others (I think that's the number in the article) who would also be interested. I have to agree with the final statement. Value is important. But more capability for a little more cash is compelling more the the hobbiest than to someone trying to design something to sell.
I just returned from ESC Brazil where I heard one of the keynote speakers -- Jon "MadDog" Hall -- talk about the Banana Pi, which he said was much faster and had greater capacity and performance as compared to the Raspberry Pi
A nit-pick: I believe most Raspberry Pis sold are the US$35 Model B (or new B+). There is a $25 Model A available that has half the DRAM, no Ethernet, and a single USB port, but they don't sell as many of those since most users would prefer to spend the extra $10 on DRAM and Ethernet. Model A is typically used in embedded applications that don't need Ethernet, especally battery-operated projects that can take advantage of the A's lower power consumption.
According the the CI20 article at LinuxGizmos (linuxgizmos.com/mips-tempts-hackers-with-raspbery-pi-like-dev-board):
The Creator CI20 is supplied free of charge to certain approved projects under Imagination's ecosystem.
They've been deluged with project propsals and are going to send boards to the most interesting ones. Who knows when mere mortals will be able to get their hands on CI20s, and at what price. There may be a dozen more competing boards by then :-)
IMO the most interesting thing about Raspberry Pi is the price, which at US$25 for the Model A was revolutionary. The idea was to make it cheap enough that users -- especially children -- wouldn't have to worry about breaking an expensive piece of equipment. This captured the imagination of many people, who realized that at $25 or $35 many RasPis would be sold so it would be worth developing hardware and software for it. This in turn caused more RasPis to be sold, keeping the price low.
One factor with all these boards is the size and quality of the community that grows up around them. Some of the boards out there have great technical specs, but there's very limited community support so if you're not a Linux system expert you are going to be in trouble if anything goes wrong. RasPi has a very large community and have done a good job of making it as easy as possible to load operating systems.
@Max: I believe, some time back, there was an article about Banana Pi posted on EETimes or somebody posted a comment about Banana Pi and it looked to have more feature as compared to Raspberry Pi model B. Now the latest version of Raspberry Pi model B+ included most of those features.
I guess there is no end to it...we would see many more. And probably based on features, performance and availability of online resources, a couple of them would survive in long term.
@betajet: IMO the most interesting thing about Raspberry Pi is the price, which at US$25 for the Model A was revolutionary.
I agree -- the sad thing I discovered in Brazil is that there's a 100% import tax on this sort of stuff. Also, their average household income is about 50% of the USA, which means the Raspberry Pi effectively costs 4X as much there as here...
@Sanjib: Now the latest version of Raspberry Pi model B+ included most of those features.
I got the impression that the Banana Pi has a faster processor and more memory than the Raspberry Pi B+, but I haven;t looked into it (I'm more than happy with my Arduinos for the projects I'm working on).
I definitely like this direction. The world needs more of those boards. But then, I'd have to stop and ask. Who are the customers of this board? Who would need this board? Is Imagination targeting this board (which looks great!) at "tinkerers" or "makers" crowd, or professional ODMs of the world? Curious mind wants to know.