Harriet Green CEO of Premier Farnell and element14 with Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi computer goes on sale

The £22 Raspberry Pi mini-computer designed to help children learn programming skills has sold out within hours of going on sale.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer that has been developed by a network of volunteers over the last six years and was launched in the UK today.

The device is sold without a keyboard, mouse or monitor and uncased, the chip motherboard is the size of a credit card.

The unit can be plugged into any TV, needs a keyboard and has built-in wi-fi for internet access.

Demand for the device caused problems for websites selling it, forcing The Raspberry Pi Foundation, which developed the device, to replace it's site with a static page offering links to sales partners Premier Farnell and RS Components.

"The decline in core computing skills is something we really want to address with Raspberry Pi," said Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

"Overcoming students' fear of programming for the first time is a critical step in unlocking the full potential of the smartest people in any industry."

A spokesman for Premier Farnell said: "It has been a phenomenal morning. We have had a huge amount of traffic, almost half a million hits in 15 minutes at one point.

"Clearly there were a few issues but we are resolving them.

"This device is a phenomenal opportunity. It is a hugely powerful device; we are so excited about it."

The spokesman said that although the initial batch of computers had sold out, Premier Farnell would continue to take orders that would be fulfilled when the next batch arrived.

RS Components are offering customers a chance to register their interest in buying the Pi.

The foundation said on their website that any profits it made from sales of the Pi would be given to charity.

A statement on the website read: "This first launch is aimed at software and hardware enthusiasts, makers, teachers and others who want to build exciting things with the Raspberry Pi before the official educational launch, which will happen later in 2012."

The Model B version of the computer can be used for various purposes with two USB slots, an HDMI slot, an SD memory card slot and an Ethernet port.

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