Forget the iPad3: The newest tech sensation is the Raspberry Pi, a computer the size of a credit card that has no screen, no casing, and no keyboard. With its circuits exposed, the $35 Raspberry Pi "looks rather odd next to the sleek modern offerings" we've grown accustomed to, says Sean Poulter at Britain's Daily Mail. Yet the bite-sized computer, which debuted earlier this week, sold out on its first day. Thanks to the "buying frenzy," says Charlie Osborne at ZDNet, websites selling the device crashed. Here's what you should know:
What exactly is the Raspberry Pi?
A small motherboard with various ports for plugging in keyboards, monitors, and internet cables. It runs a Linux-based operating system, and is powered by a standard mobile charger. It has no built-in software or applications.
What does it do?
The Raspberry Pi was initially designed to teach children how to write programs and create software — and there's little else you can do with it. Plug in your keyboard and screen, and you're presented with what is essentially a blank slate on which to write your own programs.
But why do I need to program?
While younger generations are considered "more tech-savvy than their elders," most people of any age still don't know how "software actually works," says Osborne. The result is that tech companies find it increasingly difficult to find qualified workers and university applicants in the field of computing are surprisingly clueless when it comes to the fundamentals. The Raspberry Pi could help change that.