If in these days you take a look at the list of possible gifts/gadgets that will be hot in the next Christmas you’ll find almost for sure the Raspberry Pi.
This is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also able to play high-definition video and sending the output through an HDMI interface to a TV or a monitor and all of this at a starting price of around 25$.
The design is based around a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU, and 128 or 256 Megabytes of RAM, with two USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet controller. The design does not include a built-in hard disk or solid-state drive, instead relying on an SD card for booting and long-term storage. The board is intended to run Linux kernel based operating systems and there is a lot of interest on the open source community with many small distro born to support this new hardware such as raspbian, a free operating system based on Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware.
Recently the Raspberry Pi Model B with 512MB RAM has been announced and put on the market.