While these don't have that much long-term value serving their original consumer-oriented role, they are pretty great embedded hacker boards for the price. You don't get a 3D capable GPU and the processor isn't as fast as the Pi's, but you do get a built-in LCD display w/ touchscreen, wifi, accelerometer , FM radio receiver, etc.
(For those familiar with chumbies, the Insignia Infocast 3.5 is basically the same thing as the chumby one and the chumby hacker board, but the price has dropped even further than the price for remaining chumby ones because of the stupid name and lack of nostalgia factor).
But I wouldn't say the capabilities of the device are limited in terms of hackability. You can easily flash your own bootloader, your own kernel and your own rootfs on to the device and do more or less whatever your heart desires with it. For ~$25 for one of these you get something pretty close to the imx233 developer board kits that Freescale sells for 400 bucks and up.
excuse-me does have a point, though, in that there is less likely to be vibrant chumby hacking community moving forward, though on the flip side of that there's tons of documentation already existing on how to set up a toolchain, how to get your own openembedded OS build up on the device, etc, whereas that sort of knowledge is going to take a while to build up for the Pi, especially if it remains difficult to actually buy one.
I totally agree with you on the Flash apps vision. This is such a shame that was the main function of the chumby in the first place. I was expecting to have both offline applications as well, and not flash based. Seems like that was not made to be.
While I appreciate that they did not take advantage of the multiple page views to just get more ad impressions, it's still a pain in the ass to view a single item of content like that.
Adobe didn't want to support it with Flash, Google won't support it with Chrome for Android (even on ICS), Mozilla didn't want to support it initially, but eventually changed their mind probably because they are desperate for market share on Android. Canonical doesn't want to support it in Ubuntu as well. So yeah, I'm hoping for a Cortex A7 or at least a Cortex A5 to replace the ARM11 CPU in the 2.0 version.
Seriously it is $35. Someone is going to take it give it a case and a SD card that has 1 single application/purpose and do something amazing with it and people will eat it up. This device isn't about what old thing you can run, but about what crazy NEW things can be done.
It is insulting that you would even bring up Adobe in this as they have for all intents and purposes killed flash and it will never appear on this device.
Start thinking about how to exploit what the device gives you. The feature of this device is that it is dirt f*n cheap. A $3000 computer you want to keep working for months/years, but at $25 who cares if it dies and you have to buy another. Rather than sharing USB sticks you share your Pi. Put them in colorful cases and kids will trade them at school. Mount them in locations where water damage is very possible and just replace it when it dies. Give it a big battery and _bury_ it in your yard. Drop it in the ocean and have it transmit until it is crushed for amusement. Buy four of them and make some sort of game. Etc
Edit how cheap can you get a screen for this?
An Arduino Uno costs $30, has 2KB of RAM, and runs at 16 MHz.
The Raspberry Pi costs $35, has 256 MB of RAM, and runs at 700 MHz. It also has two USB ports, ethernet, HDMI, composite video, a great GPU, SD card, and more.
You only get 8 GPIO pins, but you also have I2C and SPI. Plus they were developing a board to help with that.
There are quite a few projects you might want to do that would take quite a bit more horsepower than an Arduino, but a Raspberry Pi would do great for. Think of using something like a Raspberry Pi with a serial breakout board for running a Reprap or Makerbot. Enough power to run the machine and provide an amazing 3D GUI of the object being printed during the process.
It still has less IO than a Beaglebone, but it also costs 1/3rd the price.
I don't think many people will be using the Rasperry Pi to replace netbooks or most desktops, but I see a ton of hobbyist uses.
I now have a new hobby.
edit: farnell do 19300ft of 38awg .. that should do the trick.
If you're a hacker/tinkerer/kid learning, the default distribution isn't likely all you'll be using anyway. And if you're buying the Raspberry Pi to try to get a cheap gaming system, you've completely missed the point.
Once some optimisation work is done I think people will be amazed by what it can do.
Also: I want to write a port/clone of Elite, in Python, that runs on the Raspberry Pi. A tribute to Braben. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if he's already done something like that himself, as a "test" of the system.
Also, midori has been tested and seems fine apparently.
Besides, why, unless you had no other option, would you be using this as a normal desktop? Surely it is there to tinker with and build cool stuff? The fact that it can run a linux desktop is impressive, but surely that is more of a demonstration of abilities, rather than the main use for the thing.
I'd be far more interested in seeing what new classes of devices can be built with one of these as the core, than in using one for web browsing, although I like the fact it can be used for that in a pinch.
One of the first things I am likely to do with one of these is to try mucking about with RISCOS, just for old times sake. I suspect that given that it runs so close to the metal, you could make some extremely low latency devices that way.
Unfortunately, it's one of those "closed until you join" standards; you have to be a licensed member of the MIPI Alliance (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) to get the full specs.
Basically, DSI is about "lanes" of balanced differential serial connections between a display driver (in this case built into the CPU) and a display. There is a set of commands for configuring the display, setting pixels (and, if the display is "smart" and has on-board memory, also for reading pixels) and so on.
The original specs for the OpenPandora also called for 256 MB of RAM, it has only recently been upgraded to 512 MB, since sourcing the original chip turned impossible.
I'm sure this has been tried already by the (rather active) OpenPandora hackers, wasn't able to find anything quickly though.
If you need performance and graphics:
PandaBoard ES (182$, dual 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, wifi)
BeagleBoard-xM (140$, 1GHz, 512MB RAM)
BeagleBone (90$, 700Mhz, 256MB RAM)
And also, of course the OpenPandora is more of a consumer electronics product in a case, with custom controls optimized for gaming, it's not a bare circuit board.
Make it into an intelligent garage door opener that opens the door when it picks up your phone nearby.
Stuff it into a bear and make a talking toy for your children that responds to being squeezed.
Use it to render attractive screensavers on your TV during a party without having to drag your PC downstairs.
Put 20 of them in weatherproof boxes and build a cheap wireless mesh network using usb network devices.
Maybe that's the reason for some negative test results?
“Fedora 14 Remix
A little buggy, so for now we’re recommending beginners use Debian Squeeze.”
We’d like to apologise to all customers who placed
orders with Newark element14 and have seen their
acknowledged delivery date suddenly change on our
website’s order backlog to August 2012.
At present, as already communicated by Raspberry Pi,
all deliveries are on hold awaiting the outcome of the
compliance testing currently taking place.
Apologies again for any confusion this action has
caused. We firmly believe delivery will be much sooner