Well its my first post and I can"t help but wonder what the Raspberry Pi will be used for?
With my ultra-cynical head on I imagine headlines such as "In 2015, 80% of all roadside IEDs in Afghanistan had a British made Raspberry Pi powering them". Terrorism just got a whole lot cheaper. Indeed a generation of children will grow up learning from devices like these, but is it likely to be a Western World generation?
The other thing that jumps to mind is who will buy the first batches? Not children, that"s for sure. I have not seen a single child on the forums. At the risk of being flamed the people buying the first 10,000 will be one of 3 groups.
1) Collectors. Those who want the original Raspberry Pi. The machine that spawned 200 million clones. They will want one of the first 10,000 and hope something changes even if it is the colour of a component, to distinguish theirs as one of the first batch. Most of these will never leave the box and will periodically appear on ebay at inflated prices for the rest of eternity.
2) Old men. There is no point in dressing it up. Men with beards, sandals, tweed coats with leather elbow patches who have been rubbing their thighs at the thought of rigging their tomato plants with a retro computer for temps and water, that whispers echos of their childhood and a beloved zx spectrum or similar.
3) Journalists. Who will benchmark them and bin them.
Maybe there is something that Raspberry Pi can learn from Microsoft. STUDENT EDITION. Make a Student Edition $5 (model A) and subsidise it with a "pro edition" (that should have been your model B for the enthusiasts that will buy up all your stock before a child gets near it) at $75. Then only sell the Student edition to students as Microsoft does with Office software for example. Maybe you could have even given them to schools on a 1:1 rate with the Model B costing the price of a model A&B ($60).
Anyway, my 2 cents. I hope I"m wrong and that kids up and down the country will be playing with these next month but I just don"t see it. I think the product is right, but the business model is wrong.
An interesting post, first or otherwise, but based on a rather superficial understanding of the Pi project. Its been well known for some time that:
The Raspberry Pi foundation is not a large company with funding oozing out of its pores, capable of building up a huge pre-launch stock of mass-market ready product.
Initial production would be "limited", as far as 10000 unit batches can be considered limited for a device that has potential but an uncertain takeup rate.
That the initial batches would be targetted at the enthusiast market as they are the best able to cope with a machine with a few rough edges, incomplete documentation (and no, I don't mean low-level Broadcom specific information) and a standard Linux distro. "Children" were never intended to be the recipients of the first batches.
That a cased and supported mass-market product with proper support material would be released within months of the bare-board product.
As for your points on potential purchasers. Collectors may well form a small sub-group of initial buyers, but by the time of the second batch, their percentage will grow vanishingly small. Journalists will form a similarly limited subgroup. And why should they "bin" them? Even journos probably know someone else who would appreciate a Pi. Perhaps they could sell them onto "collectors"?
The point about roadside IEDs is equally interesting. 80% market penetration, eh? I'm surprised we don't hear that the Arduino, for example, is not being used in a similar role already.
And am I the only one who finds your rant about "Old Men … with beards, sandals, tweed coats with leather elbow patches who have been rubbing their thighs …" an incredibly ageist and sexist stereotypical view of a group of people? Perhaps the sort of people who have knowledge, experience and the ability to do wonderful things with the Raspberry Pi and prevent it being viewed as purely a kids computer.
Finally. Why suggest such an initial high price for the B? Are you that keen to prevent it from being taken up by the widest possible demographic? Oh, and a $5 Model A? Ideal for the IED market, I'd suggest…
Edit: for typos and sense...
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....