I firmly believe that we can all thank the Foundation and volunteers who developed the hardware and included software for this plummeting of prices. I can barely imagine the shock even in Chinese offices of consumer electronics firms when hundreds of thousands of people all attempted to buy Raspberry Pi boards at the same moment in time on February 29th. The finance people had to drop their foreheads to their desks in dismay, if they weren't already there based on the continued ratcheting down of prices for all manner of consumer electronic items that has been going on for years.
The fact that the Pi is a board without a case doesn't seem to have registered with the low-end tablet makers - they seem to be working to undercut even a single-board computer with their complete tablets. Never mind the fact that their products somehow manage to be even more difficult to operate than a Pi board with no I/O (hmmm, so that's
how they're doing it!
) and that it's up to the buyers to form a community to ferret out how to make the darned things do anything even marginally useful, much less all that a Pi can do.
Given all of this, it's fascinating to watch Microsloth squirming at the other extreme of the tablet wars, introducing one that can't run any of their desktop/laptop or older phone software (the Surface for Windoze RT - I mean, seriously, who names their stuff?). At the same time, they announced an undoubtedly as-expensive-as-a-laptop model (the Surface Pro for WIndows 8) that can run their older desktop/laptop software, but, is too heavy, complicated, and expensive to compete in volume with the gold-standard iPad. Not a single computing industry analyst (save for the usual suspects on MS's payroll) thinks they're going to actually sell the Pro in any significant numbers, including the faithful who will buy anything the company produces. The fact that they wouldn't allow a single journalist to type even a single word on the keyboard/cover, and that the RT prototype crashed in the hands of the top product manager during the demo, says that these aren't even alpha units, yet.
The ancient Chinese blessing/curse has finally come to pass - we truly do live in "interesting" times!
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close!
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!