The Pi Store opens

 
Raspberry Pi

Another landmark today for what must be one of 2012's most successful new technology products, the Raspberry Pi. You've seen Apple's App Store, Google Play and Amazon and Windows online shops for apps? Well, now there is a Pi Store.

The people behind the ultra-cheap computer have decided to harness all that geek enthusiasm sparked since the Raspberry Pi's launch in February and create a one-stop shop where anyone can share games, applications and tools developed for the computer.

Eben Upton, the former Cambridge computing academic who came up with the idea for an affordable device that would encourage a new generation to get coding, has just blogged about the new store. He says he hopes it "will provide young people with a way to share their creations with a wider audience, and maybe to make a little pocket money along the way".

If that does happen, it will also provide useful evidence that the Raspberry Pi is reaching the audience at which it was originally targeted. Interest in the device has far exceeded expectations - the team thought originally that they might get 10,000 out this year, but I'm told more than 750,000 are now in the hands of users around the world. One user has compiled a map charting the Pi's global spread.

But my suspicion is that the main buyers so far have been 40-somethings who look back with nostalgia to their teenage years messing about with a BBC Micro or a ZX Spectrum. When I spoke to Mr Upton this morning, he confirmed that this was pretty accurate - "there's a strong bias towards adults who are computer literate" - but said that was changing a bit.

"Schools that are lucky enough to have an enthusiastic ICT teacher - or even a physics teacher - have been getting them."

But he accepts that the Raspberry Pi foundation, having successfully launched the hardware, now needs to focus on its original educational objective. The uncased device and the lack of much educational support is intimidating for teachers who are not particularly techie.

There are big plans to change that in 2013. "The intent is to have something that can go into a generic classroom environment," he said.

By the time Raspberry Pi celebrates its first anniversary at the end of February, more than a million will have been sold - an amazing achievement for what has been a shoestring operation dependent on voluntary efforts and the enthusiasm of the community. The next step is to build a more professional organisation which can fulfil the original vision - to transform the way children use and understand computers.

 
Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 30.

    6. KickAssAndGiggle
    2 HOURS AGO
    I'm the lead developer for the country's leading disaster recovery company....
    ___
    That is very worrying, if a lead developer and his team cannot work out what to do with a pi the state of the IT sector is worse that I ever imagined.

    Give one of these to an old school software engineer (like me) and they will be like a pig in the brown stuff.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 18.

    I have learnt SO much from using the Raspberry Pi in the last few months.

    I have come from having zero programming and electronics knowledge to now being in the process of programming and building software and hardware for a (really) remote solar powered robotics project.

    Yes its "just" a Linux computer, but it's the ethos and excitement around learning with the Pi that's exciting us.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 71.

    @Piggyback 68: "Lack of screen and keyboard, for one."

    I have to admit I am confused: you're saying that the fact that it doesn't have a screen or keyboard fixed to it make it less of a proper computer?

    Because apart from laptops and very few models (a few Macs) that's the case for EVERY computer .. or did we reach the point where people don't know what a computer is anymore ?

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1.

    Pi store? surely Pi Shop would sound better? but aside from that I confess I am a 40+ former ZX81 owner with a Pi on my desk, but then I guess us mad old fools buying them have probably helped reduce cost for schools. Oh yeah, and the link to the store needs fixing!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 25.

    24. Piggyback

    You're 25 yet you don't get why most people don't "get it"? Here's a clue: they already have a computer/laptop. And those that don't have one, would be foolish to get this instead of save up for a proper one.

    _

    The problem is that the computer/laptop you refer to is so dumbed down that is is useless when it comes to a learning how it actually works. The Pi removes all that bling.

 

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