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The First USB PC

The First USB PC
This is the first USB computer, marvelous in its design. Flawless!

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Home » Science » The First USB Computer
A game developer from UK created a USB stick PC for only $25

Believe it or not, this genius guy managed to put together a USB stick PC with less than 30 bucks (or £15 if you like).

David Braben has developed a tiny USB stick PC that has a HDMI port at one end and a USB port on the other. Simple!

What are those for, you ask? Well, you plug a monitor into the HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the port and Voila! You got a fully functioning machine running on Linux. The cost of all this? A mere $25.

This ladies and gentlemen is the first USB computer, marvelous in its design. Very impressive!

Who the Heck is David Braben?

David Braben is a well-known game developer, head of the UK development studio "Frontier Developments," however, he is better known for co-developing the good ol' space trading computer game , released in 1984. Do you remember it? No? Then you're probably born after the 80s so don't worry about it.

Braben's Frontier Developments is the company that brought us the "Rollercoaster Tycoon" series. Does that ring a bell now? Good... Besides developing games, David has been trying to solve another problem: getting programming and learning how a computer works back into schools. After the 2000s, Braben notice that computer classes would focus more on writing documents in Word and creating PowerPoint® presentations, than on basic programming and understanding how the hardware inside a computer works. David planned to change that for a long time...

However, instead of creating his own computer course, he decided to manufacture a very low cost PC that can be given away to kids for free and to also create specific courses built up around this cheap computer. And when we say low cost, we really mean it!

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 David Braben wants to give a £15 PC on a stick to every child.

First USB Computer: Hardware Specifications

The first USB computer uses a 700MHz ARM11 processor (32-bit microprocessor), has 128MB of RAM (physical memory) and runs OpenGL ES (for Embedded Systems) 2.0 which allows for decent graphics performance with 1080p output (which is more resolution than the video above provides). What about the hard drive, you ask? Well, the storage is provided by a microSD card. You know, like one of those you have in your cell phone?

We can expect the first USB computer to run a couple of free Linux versions, but it looks like Ubuntu® may be the perfect choice for this tiny device, providing Web browsing, office applications, and complete functionality for a PC as soon as the gadget it's plugged in. All that and it can be carried in your pocket! I suspect that the guys on the "Gadget Show" would run a feature on this USB stick PC pretty soon.

The tiny USB PC is going to be distributed through a charitable foundation called the Raspberry Pi Foundation. No offence, but as it looks right now, Mr. Braben needs to hire a Web Designer, fast. He might be understanding how the PC hardware works and have honest intentions to promote computer science studies in schools, but that Web site, as it is, will in no way, attract potential customers...

Getting back to our story, David hopes that the Raspberry Pi PC will become available for mass distribution in within the next 12 months. I would definitely buy one! If you liked this story, please take a moment to share it and to also follow me on Twitter.

usb stick pc
USB stick PC runs on Ubuntu

the first usb computer
This is the first USB computer

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