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Raspberry Pi boosts sales at components manufacturer

Demand for the £22 Linux PC is outweighing supply

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Booming sales of Raspberry Pi Linux PCs have have boosted first-quarter revenues at electrical components manufacturer Electrocomponents.

Although the company's international business declined by 2% over the last year, sales in the UK grew by 5% – 2% of which was attributable to sales of Raspberry Pi, according to Electrocomponents.

The Raspberry Pi is an uncased motherboard the size of a credit card that is capable of running basic word processing and Internet applications. The computer has basic input, display and networking ports, and can run Linux flavours including Fedora, Debian and ArchLinux.

The PC has been touted by some as an inexpensive way to replace home theatre PCs or low-power Windows desktops for basic Internet and productivity applications. Others hope to contribute to the goal of nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote programming among students.

Demand for the Raspberry Pi has outstripped supply since the uncovered board went on sale on 29 February. Ian Mason, chief executive of Electrocomponents, told the Financial Times that the backlog of demand for the Raspberry Pi “in the tens of thousands”.

“The initial level of demand was amazing, but we didn’t have that much product [in stock]. We have still got demand to fill, and we are selling a lot of accessories with it as well,” he said.

However, he added that the positive financial impact was likely to be temporary, and that future demand was unclear

The device fits nicely with education secretary Michael Gove's plans to overhall the teaching of ICT in schools and put more focus on software programming, following years of criticism from employers that pupils leave school without decent IT skills.

The government is rebranding ICT as Computer Science, and launching a consultation on exactly how to make the programming and more advanced lessons a reality.

Gove said students needed to be “at the forefront of technological change” in order to boost the UK economy, and the government would push for the curriculum to enable this.


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