Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Raspberry Pi Works


Raspberry Pi Reviews and Future Potential

The popularity and demand for the device far outstripped what the creators were expecting, as is evidenced by the sellout on initial order day and the subsequent site crashes. The Raspberry Pi Foundation received lots of inquiries and requests outside the groups they expected would be interested in the device (not just schools and hobbyists but hospitals and other organizations).

The reviews from the first lucky few to use the device were mostly positive, praising its speed, video quality and educational potential, among other things [sources: Gibbs, Williams, DesignSpark]. A group of school children even got to try it out and were loath to give the device back [source: Greenwell].

People are already striving to get useful or just darned cool software working on the Raspberry Pi. Videos of applications running on the device can be found at RaspberryPi.org, including OpenELEC's XBMC media center application, VNC remote desktop software, Quake 3 and even an emulator for the old ZX Spectrum computer. And there are rumblings on the Raspberry Pi forum of using the Pi to create other retro computer emulators, robotic vehicle controllers, kitchen computers, new online multiplayer games, home servers and a host of other high-tech software and hardware.

The Raspberry Pi is also piquing the interest of institutions and people in developing nations due to its low cost and power requirements, combined with relatively powerful computing and multimedia functionality. In such places, computer equipment isn't as readily available as it is in more industrialized nations, and electricity is expensive. Cheap computing for everyone could not only get more people into computer science worldwide, but also result in useful innovations and increased access to technological advances in areas where resources are scarce.

The device certainly isn't just for kids. If you can think of a use for it, you can buy one and, with a little work, implement your idea.

Let there be robots.