Electronic Design

element14 offers Raspberry Pi computer worldwide

Global agreement puts distributor in the middle of the frenzy, as design engineers and would-be coders clamor to get their hands on the device

The credit-card sized Raspberry Pi computer hit the market February 29th and electronic components distributor element14 was in the middle of the fray as design engineers rushed to get their hands on the educational device.

element14 announced a global distribution deal with the Raspberry Pi Foundation the same day the miniature computer went on sale; the online community will offer the product worldwide through its Newark element14 brand in North America, Farnell element14 brand in Europe and its element14 brand in Asia Pacific. 

The Raspberry Pi computer is a low-cost, basic computer aimed at helping children learn to design their own computer programs. The $35 Model B is the first device on the market; it is an uncased configuration that includes two USB slots, 256MB of RAM, HDMI slot, SD memory card slot and an Ethernet Port. The Model B will be followed later this year by the even less expensive Model A, which has 256MB of RAM and one USB port.

The February launch of the Model B was aimed at design engineers and would-be coders who can modify and develop programs for use on the device. The element14 online community will play a key role in the discussion and information-sharing aspect of the new technology, according to officials from both companies.  

“This partnership brings together the world’s biggest online design engineer community with one of the most exciting electronic/embedded computing products to be launched for decades,” Premier Farnell’s CEO Harriet Green said in a statement announcing the distribution deal. “We believe it will provide the catalyst for a programming revolution. The opportunity to engage a new generation of engineers and computer experts is very much in our sweet spot as a company. …”

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a United Kingdom-based charity founded by a group of influential computing experts and businesses. Co-founders Eben Upton and Robert Mullins point to a decline in core computing skills among today’s students as a catalyst for developing the Raspberry Pi computer.

“The decline in core computing skills is something we really want to address with Raspberry Pi, and the way the element14 community supports developers of all skill levels makes it a really strong partner in tackling this issue,” said Upton. “Overcoming students’ fear of programming for the first time is a critical step in unlocking the full potential of the smartest people in any industry. I have no doubt that having the support of a community of like-minded developers will be a catalyst for success.” 

Initial allocations of the product are small and not enough to meet the burgeoning demand. element14 is accepting pre-orders for the Model B at element14.com/raspberrypi.

TAGS: Newark
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