Miniature computer Raspberry Pi, initially developed to help children learn how to program, is going into mass production, becoming an increasingly popular gadget for small businesses as it is easily customizable and has extended programming applications.

The Raspberry Pi, manufactured by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, currently costs $35 or $25 without Ethernet. It is a fully functional miniature computer, with 700 MHz ARM CPU and 256 MB of RAM, and its hard drive is an SD card. It is provided with Ethernet, two USB ports and 1080p HDMI.

Raspberry Pi Miniature Computer Overview

The specifications make it a pretty strong computer, given its size, but it still has significant limitations in terms of processing power. The Raspberry Pi is nowhere close to the power of a desktop computer or a modern day laptop, and is somewhat similar in strength device such as a tablet or smartphone. But it was never intended to be as powerful as a PC.

The primary use of the Raspberry Pi is not to run demanding applications or games, but to enable programming and process control. The miniature computer can be used to determine whether other computer components are working properly. It can also be used to solve connectivity problems, control various processes or to serve as development platform for software and network engineers.

The manufacturers came up with the idea of developing such a small computer after noticing how little programming and web design was being done in the mid 2000s, as compared to the 1990s boom. This was also due to the fact computers were too expensive to allow experimental programming.

Beside programmers and computer engineers, small businesses can profit the most by purchasing this miniature computer. It is accessible and powerful enough to be used as a dashboard for business intelligence. Raspberry Pi can have multiple applications for SMBs, for instance allowing businesses that cannot afford hiring an IT manager to easily test the security of their information and computer networks.

Raspberry Pi owners can also download a wide range of applications, media programs, development tools and so on, from the online Pi Store. It is very easy to find programs and test them on the Pi and then remove them if you’re not satisfied. This miniature device is a useful thing to have if you want to try your hand at programming or do other things you wouldn’t dare to do with your main desktop computer.

[Image via IIT]