Raspberry Pi goes on sale - briefly

February 29, 2012 // 1:07 p.m.

Tags: #broadcom #eben-upton #premier-farnell #raspberry-pi #rs-components #system-on-chip

The Raspberry Pi single-board computer officially went on sale this morning, only to sell out within an hour due to unprecedented demand.

The ARM-based microcomputer, the size of a credit card and costing just $35 in its most powerful 'Model B' incarnation, is now being produced under licence by Premier Farnell and RS Components rather than purely by the Raspberry Pi charity itself.

'The involvement of RS Components and Premier Farnell means that we can build volume much, much faster than would have been possible on our own,' a spokesperson for the project explains. 'We are no longer limited to batches of only 10k Raspberry Pis; the Raspberry Pi will now be built to match demand.

'Both Premier Farnell and RS Components have worldwide distribution networks, so wherever you are in the world, you will be able to buy from a local distributor. This will saves you money on shipping; it’s a much better way for you to buy than getting them all shipped from the Foundation in the UK.'

Raspberry Pi announced the opening of orders for both RS and Farnell on its website at 0600 this morning; at 0602, both third-party websites had been driven offline by traffic as gadget-hungry fans tried to place their orders.

An hour later, Farnell confirmed that despite its website being offline for the majority of users it had managed to sell out of its initial production run of Raspberry Pi boards. RS, meanwhile, is delaying opening orders at all until later this week in a last-minute decision that will hopefully give the company time to bolster its servers in anticipation of the traffic hit.

The - brief - opening of orders also brought a welcome surprise: the cheaper 'Model A' unit, costing just $25, is to receive a memory upgrade from 128MB to 256MB at no extra cost when it enters production later this year. As a result it will match the specifications of the more expensive 'Model B,' missing only the additional USB port and Ethernet connectivity.

If you're anxious to get your hands on a Pi, RS is asking for email addresses ahead of the orders opening later in the week. Farnell, meanwhile, is allowing customers to pre-order the device now with a new batch to be built within 16 days - but at the time of writing, its website is still suffering under the strain.

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