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Raspberry Pi $25 computer now in early production

USB stick-size system comes with everything students around the world need to learn programming already baked in. Fifty have been made so far.

Fifty of the slightly oversized and overpriced Alpha Raspberry Pi systems have been made. Upton hopes the smaller version can ship later this year. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

In May, we told you about a tiny $25 dollar computer on a USB stick that could plug in to just about any TV. The developers' idea is to have an affordable tool that can get kids anywhere, perhaps even in developing countries, interested in computer programming.

When we first saw the prototype a few months ago, full-scale production seemed pretty far off, but now comes word that 50 alpha models have been produced and Raspberry Pi Foundation director Eben Upton expects the final product to ship by the end of the year to be used by educators worldwide.

In the video below, Upton explains that the alpha version is slightly larger and more expensive than what the foundation hoped to have for a fully baked Raspberry Pi. Watch to the end for a close-up of the system, which includes network, USB and video ports, as well as a full-size SD card slot on the back. Upton says they opted for full-size SD over micro because it's generally more robust and harder to lose the cards.

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The tiny system runs Linux on an ARM processor with 80MB of memory. For a closer look at the ingredients, check out a sample of the console output on the Foundation's blog.