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3 Ways To Improve The $25 Raspberry Pi USB Computer

The Raspberry Pi USB computer is a refreshing piece of technology that shows how ridiculously low hardware prices have become and how, to some extent, smartphones might have paved the way for the next generation of ultra cheap computers.

The first iteration of the Raspberry Pi PC is extremely promising but we've managed to identify three ways in which the device could be improved. The main issue with the device for now is the fact that it needs to have an external power supply in order to run; unfortunately, HDMI was not initially intended to provide other peripherals with power.

While there's no quick fix for it, one can envision that the Raspberry Pi PC could be re-engineered either to fit on a power socket, like a Powerline pass through model, merged with a four port USB hub or built so as to fit in the USB socket of a television; the fact that most recent HDMI-enabled televisions have at least one USB socket might help.

The second option is preferable because it will allow other USB peripherals such as a keyboard and a mouse to be connected. But it will block at least one USB port and will increase the overall cost of the peripheral.

The ARM 11 doesn't apparently have any wireless connectivity capabilities as it stands, and it might be worthwhile for Raspberry to explore the options offered by higher performance application processors such as the Rockchip RK2918. Most recent ones come with support for 3G and Wi-Fi and perform better at equal clock speeds.

It would be interesting to find out whether the computer can be fine tuned so that it can be powered by two AA batteries (that's 3V), some of which have a capacity of 2450mAh, significantly more than most phone batteries. Given that it doesn't have any display or movable parts, one could expect it to last for weeks rather than hours.