Little taste in SA for Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has not taken off in South Africa as it should have, says distributor RS Components. By Nafisa Akabor.

The Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi

The focus of the low-cost microcomputer Raspberry Pi, which costs as little as R349, has not hit its intended target market in South Africa, says RS Components, one of two global distributors of Raspberry Pi.

RS Components GM Brian Andrews says it’s more South African hobbyists and designers that have taken an interest in the microcomputer, which is aimed mainly at encouraging youngsters to get into programming.

RS Components was appointed as a distributor for Raspberry Pi due to its global footprint and has been selling the product online since launch. The company has sold about 8 000 units in South Africa since it was launched here in February 2012. That compares poorly to the more than 2,5m sold worldwide.

“There is a long way to go still, and … there is a huge opportunity, especially in education,” Andrews says. It has the potential to teach young kids from an early age how to program.

The computer runs open-source software and the standard operating system comes with tools aimed at children, including Scratch, a simple programming language, and high-level programming and scripting language Python, says Andrews. “It allows one to experiment and hack and, because there is no hard drive but rather an SD card, it can be replaced easily if anything had to happen to the unit.”

The Raspberry Pi functions like a normal PC and can be connected to an external monitor or TV, keyboard, mouse, power cables and hard drive.

It is power efficient and caters to developing countries that simply can’t afford traditional PC form factors, says Andrews.  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

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  • Danny Baromen

    Might have something to do with the price tag…. #JustSaying

  • StudentSA

    Whats wrong with the price tag? I feel its cheap for what you get. This is really an impressive piece of hardware.

  • Danny Baromen

    Rest of the world, you can get a pi for under 50 bucks… here, if you want one, it’s at least R500…

  • StudentSA

    That is a misinformed statement. The cost is max around $35 (USD) which is roughly R350, I know RS charges around R450 which is certainly not that bad.

  • Greg Mahlknecht

    Yup, R350 for the “A” and R450 for the “B” board from RS. It’s easy to find them locally at the prices Danny mentions, but you’re always going to find people who overprice products anywhere in the world.

  • Justin Case

    Agreed. VAT and Import duties level the relative playing field, and the blokes still meed to turn a profit. What can you buy for R500 nowadays in any case, of decent quality. It’s a steal.

  • caroper

    The bare-bones RPi will never hit it’s intended market in South Africa as it stands.
    It requires to much technical knowledge to get up and running.
    a) The bare PC Board would frighten anyone that has been thought not to touch electricity.
    b) You can’t switch it on and start using it – First find a Keyboard and mouse, find a HDMI TV, find a Power Supply (How many Townships have reliable Electricity).
    c) Flash the Memory Card – A reasonable understanding of Linux and/or a Good Internet connection is needed here, and that is if you have access to another PC with a card reader.

    Put it in a small box with integrated Keyboard (Think ZX Spectrum) include a Battery Pack as well as USB power and have the Memory Card pre-installed.

    Then you may hit the target but as it stands it is a great Hacker Tool for advance hobbyists, not for School Kids living in Townships or Shacks.

  • Christiaan Rohmann-Jurgens

    RaspberryPi makes a fabulous media player. Using Plex media server on your computer, serving your media and using RasPlex on the RaspberriPi connected to your flat screen TV. With a USB Y cable (for juice from 2 USB ports), you can even power the RaspberryPi directly from your TV. It also supports receiving control input from your TV remote VIA HDMI!

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