Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bridging the digital divide, $5 at a time

Going in the right direction

About 3 years ago, I wrote a piece titled "Going in the wrong direction" (well worth your time, go ahead and read it). In it, I highlighted the issue of the high cost of computing for experimentation and innovation, particularly when it comes to students. This obviously has impact on STEAM and school budgets too. I suggested that we'd see $20 and even sub $20 computers very soon.

The Raspberry Pi had established itself as a great option for exactly this. In mid 2012, during a Python conference in North Carolina (USA), I demoed a simple project using a Raspberry Pi controlling a laser. Everybody in attendance was sold on the concept of a $35 computer.

The $35, $25, I mean $20 computer

What I imagined for the price trend

I had to revisit the original story at the beginning of 2015, because the price of each iteration of the Raspberry Pi entry level model kept going down. It looked like sub $20 was close, at least as I was picturing it in my mind. At the same time, the higher spec model kept getting better (see my article on 3D Future Tech as to why that is possible)

I'll CHIP in $9

Earlier this year, a kickstarter campaign introduced the CHIP, a $9 computer. According to they will sell it this coming Monday for $8!

How low can you go?

Meet the $5 #pizero

The Raspberry Pi foundation is now selling a $5 version of the Raspberry Pi. It is half the size of the Model A+ and a quarter of the price...

And yet another price model that totally disrupts the field. Just look at that:

So now, we've reached the price level where distribution and shipping cost impact more than the cost of the computer itself. This is the next problem to solve in bridging the digital divide.

We live in interesting times...

Francois Dion


Josh Osborne said...

And I just bought a Raspberry Pi 2 days ago!

Francois Dion said...

Not a problem, you'll just have two when you get the PiZero :)

jacdesmers said...

WOW, Fran├žois, you'll have to talk to us about that!