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Raspberry Pi doubles RAM: Is Android 4.0 on the cards?

Raspberry Pi, the bare bones computer that has taken the world by storm, is set to offer even more value for its tiny sub-£20 price tag, after upgrading the amount of RAM on offer from 256MB to 512MB.

Eben Upton, chip design and founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has said that the decision to double RAM capacity was prompted by suggestions that a more expensive version of the Pi should be offered, so that the Mini computer can be used for general purposes.

However, in a recent interview Upton said that the Raspberry Pi’s low price was “our differentiator” and that the Foundation was “very attached to $35 as our highest price point.”

Raspberry Pi upgrade: What are the implications?

Some have suggested that the RAM upgrade, which will apply to all Model B Raspberry Pi’s from now on, could mean that the device will support Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

This is idea is supported by comments from Mike Buffham, global head of EDE for Premier Farnell, the primary supplier and manufacturer of Raspberry Pi computers in the UK. He said:

“The extra memory also enables higher performance applications and services – there is real potential to do things like add a touchscreen, then a power back and suddenly the Pi becomes mobile.”

In a blog post Upton also talks about demand for a “Model C” version of Raspberry Pi with extra RAM, a more general-use computer that would be able to run a number of large applications simultaneously.

Although he said that the company wasn’t considering this at the moment, he did argue that the functionality for this type of device would be “too heavyweight to fit comfortably in 256MB”, suggesting that the upgrade could be a sign of things to come.

Raspberry Pi: What’s on offer?

The credit card-sized computer board, that that plugs into a TV and a keyboard, was originally designed to teach children about computer programming, but has been a hit in the wider market.

The range of specs packed into the Pi include a Broadcom “system on a chip”, combining a 700MHz ARM 11 processor, a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU and two USB ports, 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI and composite RCA video out, an audio minijack, and an SD Card reader.

With so much on offer for so little, the Raspberry Pi definitely stands a chance of becoming the computer of the future.

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