Chris Swan has two solid predictions for Raspberry Pi. For the same reasons The BBC Micro and Home Brew computers inspired a generation, and hackers continue to realise more potential than manufacturers in their own technology.
RaspPi is a whole computer on a tiny circuit board – not much more than an ARM processor, a USB port, and an HDMI connection. Plug a keyboard into one end, and hook the other into a TV.
The result, a working computer running on a Linux operating system for around £20; cheap enough that one could be handed to every child in Britain.
Prediction 1 – one of the first things to be disrupted will be the hardware thin client business. I expect that within a day of release (maybe even before mainstream release) somebody will put together a package that turns a Raspberry Pi into a client for screen remoting protocols like RDP, ICA, VNC etc. For way too long the hardware thin clients have been too big and too near to the cost of a real PC. $25 and the size of a credit card changes that game. It will then be a matter of months before some enterprising monitor maker decides to build Raspberry Pi into the box – the ecosystem will be irresistible to them.
Prediction 2 – lots of things that have dedicated microcontrollers in them now will start to have a Raspberry Pi instead. I liked the idea of ‘Arduino inside’ that I read about in this story of a guy who hacked his dishwasher. The microcontroller on theArduino is pretty ancient though. Yes, there are plenty of cheap dedicated microcontrollers out there that are more powerful (I’ve done some tinkering myself with the TI MSP-430), but in the end the flexibility of software normally trumps an efficiency of hardware. At first it will be the hackers and makers putting their Raspberry Pis into ordinary kit, but then manufacturers will catch on that the community will be able to add value to products after they’re launched – making them more desirable.