About Today’s Announcement
Six years after the project's inception, we’re nearly at the end of our first run of development – although it’s just the beginning of the Raspberry Pi story. Now we start developing educational tools and initiatives, at the same time as continuing research and development on Raspberry Pi hardware.
Although we are still waiting for units to arrive from China, you can start buying the Raspberry Pi today. We have entered into licensed manufacture partnerships with two British companies, Premier Farnell and RS Components. They’ll be manufacturing and distributing the devices on behalf of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and handling the distribution of our first batches as they arrive in the country. The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we’ll be putting straight back into the charity.
Why are we using a licensed manufacture model?
The involvement of RS Components and Premier Farnell means that we can build volume much, much faster than would have been possible on our own. We are no longer limited to batches of only 10k Raspberry Pis; the Raspberry Pi will now be being built to match demand.
Both Premier Farnell and RS Components have worldwide distribution networks, so wherever you are in the world, you will be able to buy from a local distributor. This will saves you money on shipping; it’s a much better way for you to buy than getting them all shipped from the Foundation in the UK.
We’ve listened to what the community has to say. The most frequent request was for the ability to make preorders (something that was impossible for the Foundation to administer for this first batch), so we have ensured that both RS Components and Premier Farnell will be taking preorders from the start.
Today’s sales are limited to one per customer, so that as many of you as possible are able to get their hands on one. Starting in a month or so, you will be able to place batch orders with both Premier Farnell and RS Components for as many units as you want; you’ll also save some money on postage by doing this.
Model A or Model B?
All of the first units to be produced are the $35 Raspberry Pi Model B. These are the more fully featured versions of the Raspberry Pi. The main difference from the Model A is that they include an Ethernet port, and 2 USB ports.
We’ve been working hard at cost reduction over the last few months, and we’ve been able to make one significant change to the Raspberry Pi lineup. The $25 Model A has been reworked to include 256MB of RAM – double what we were originally planning to offer – and will be going into production immediately.
We are launching with Model Bs as there has been a much larger demand for them from the community. This first launch is aimed at software and hardware enthusiasts, makers, teachers and others who want to build exciting things with the Raspberry Pi before the official educational launch, which will happen later in 2012.
This means that when we launch into the educational market, there will be an experienced community of people using and making things with the Raspberry Pi. Software will be more mature and free of obvious bugs, and easier for children and educators to use.
How to Buy
The Raspberry Pi is available at either Premier Farnell or RS Components. Search for Raspberry Pi, and then follow the normal shopping and checkout process.