The only hype I've seen is from "journalists" looking for easy increases in on-line clicks and print circulation. They regurgitate each others' blurbs that are based on speculation by the nerdocracy about what the Pi could/should be, not what the Foundation has stated it would be very clearly from the beginning. The Foundation certainly can't be faulted for not being able to keep up with demand initially, especially when the original target was only a few hundred boards a year for Cambridge University CS program candidate secondary school students. Plus, it's been a volunteer effort, the cofounders risked their homes to raise the initial production capital that got it through successful CE/FCC testing (before it was thought to be needed), and a Chinese manufacturer made an unauthorized substitution of an incorrect Ethernet jack that compounded early production delays.
The initial interview with Rory Cellan-Jones (technology correspondent at the BBC) that started it all occurred on May 5, 2011 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters ... young.html
). The comments to that piece are still quite amusing and are even echoed somewhat in this thread, varying from "Great idea!" to "It will never happen." Eben showed the pre-alpha prototype one-off at the request of the BBC - it was not the Foundation seeking publicity for a non-existent product because the Pi was still just a concept at that point, as the article clearly points out:
There's a lot of work for Raspberry Pi to do. The volunteer team has to produce a better working prototype, has to show that it really can be manufactured for around £15, and then has to capture the imagination of the people in the educational establishment who will decide whether to give it the thumbs up.
So there is no guarantee that a new generation will discover that there's more to a computer than turning it on, updating your Facebook status, and making a Powerpoint presentation. But wouldn't it be great if an idea dreamed up by a group of Cambridge enthusiasts ended up inspiring young people here and perhaps across the world to engage with computers in a new way?
Rory had initially seen/heard about what Eben was doing at a UK tech trade show and immediately realized what the possibilities might be, having lived through the BBC Micro, etc., era. Eben and the rest of the Foundation were initially amused, then amazed, and finally rightfully frightened when the view count of the BBC video interview climbed past 600,000 in the space of something like a month, IIRC. Taking into account typical actual purchase uptake vs. mere interest, that's when they figured maybe 10,000 boards would be a more adequate number to produce (and all they could afford, really). It wasn't until later in 2011 that the realization that at least 100,000 people thought they had been promised a $25/$35 computer that the earlier fear transformed into quiet panic, and the contracts were eventually pursued with Farnell and RS only weeks before the announcement of availability of ordering the Model B on February 29, 2012. The rest of the pandemonium is, as they say, now history.
Those who haven't figured out by now why the BCM2835 with an ARM11v6 CPU was selected will probably never understand (hint: it's the availability at manufacturer cost and the very spiffy GPU, noodnik). More RAM, a faster CPU, analog I/O, Gigthernet, etc., would have all been nice, but the price would have been even higher, and the $25 Model A was envisioned as the educational volume product for students, with the Model B for software and content developers and advanced students who would need Ethernet and a second USB port. The quality of the Pi appears to be at least as good as for anything else of any volume, possibly better as there have been virtually no reports of hardware issues beyond the SD card speed limitation and the occasional sporadic USB activity, both of which could theoretically be fixed in a future revision. Such a potential revision wouldn't really devalue the earlier revisions since there are ample applications for which these are not problems, especially in the education domain. In fact, those could be teaching opportunities for budding computing engineers where they can be shown how even the best professionals can make mistakes and how to prevent them during their careers.
The only "competition" with the Pi is in the eyes of those jealous of its quite accidental huge market ... in which no one can make a profit, or it would already have happened earlier. The Foundation's efforts continue to be to maximize the capabilities of the existing hardware base as a well-defined standard, not play the specsmanship game in which the nerdocracy insists everyone must participate no matter what their intended customer base is. I suspect that the BBB is an attempt at the Gillette razor blade gambit - sell the razor below cost and hope to make up the difference in volume on blades, the Kodak model of selling early cameras below cost and make up the loss on massive film sales, etc. The BBB is probably being sold very close, if not at or even slightly below its production cost because TI can afford to do so, at least for some limited number unless the volume reaches the Pi level, or possibly beyond. They may be concerned at how many developers have tasted the Pi and liked the flavor enough to put up with a few seeds in the filling (the choice of the raspberry name just keeps on giving linguistically, doesn't it?
). Perhaps TI felt compelled to respond somehow, maybe even by shareholders (which include their board, executives, and many employees).
There certainly hasn't been any concomitant publicity about corporate "competitors'" desire to help foster computing education beyond the existing developer community. That's a lot smaller than even just the UK secondary school STEM student population the Pi was meant for, let alone that for the rest of the world by which the Foundation has quite unexpectedly found itself being embraced. The Foundation is now even being begged to help solve the international regressive politics of excessive customs duties that its own country is guilty of to a degree (the reason for initial Pi production starting in China).
There's a big difference between being a tad critical of the Pi and just plain bad-mouthing it for whatever personal agenda the critic may have (e.g., the misconception that any use of open source in a project means that everything in the project has to be open-source). The Foundation has been pretty tolerant of some outright inflammatory commentary (including some from me when I should have been safely asleep in bed instead of tappy-typing away, half-awake closer to the break of dawn than midnight after a protracted period of working in MeatWorld as well as NetWorld). Poor Liz should have snapped long ago and joined Al Qaeda in carrying out jihad ... except they gladly made the mistake of not wanting ladies on their team. Given her terrific foodie pedigree, I suspect she's not that big a fan of chewing qat anyway though, so there was never any danger of her posting from Yemen or some other deity-forsaken territory. See how I deftly turned a potentially grossly inflammatory post into a unicorn fart? Uh-oh, there's an incoming PM I'm going to need to read immediately ... please hold ... Ummm, the opinions in this post do not in any way reflect those of the Foundation, and any wild speculation that Liz could ever condone violence against anyone (except a certain denizen of SillyCon Valley) is completely uncalled-for and will result in being sent to the time-out corner ...
Per the comment about the inevitability of Android tablets displacing iPads, that won't happen in education anytime soon because it hasn't even happened in the consumer or business markets. There simply isn't anything compelling enough about the Android tablet environment (not just price, but quality as well as quantity of tablet-optimized apps, content, ease-of-use, consistency, features, etc.) to cause anyone who has made a choice, or is considering a choice, in education to select Android over iOS. Before anyone jumps out of their knickers and into mine, you should be aware that a Galaxy SIII is hanging off my belt and there is a pile of Android tablets on my work area, but I develop for all platforms, foreign and domestic, so there are also plenty of Apple phone and tablet offerings there, too. If you haven't seen what iBooks Author can produce in the way of interactive e-(text)books, get thee to an Apple shrine and ask for their education expert to show you how it all works, including how easy they've made it to author some spectacular content. There is simply nothing in the Android ecosystem that even vaguely approaches it that I've been able to find.
Such e-books can be either given away at no cost to the author or recipient, or sold at a recommended maximum price of $15 (I routinely encounter hard-copy STEM books at prices of upwards of $400-plus). For starters, check out the free sample chapters of E.O. Wilson's "Life on Earth" - you will be astounded (the entire e-book, now eight chapters, is $1.99, and as new chapters are released, they are free to purchasers of earlier versions). Also, ask Amazon, Samsung, et al, where their version of free iBooks University content and courseware is. Sometimes you do get what you pay for, and sometimes you get a whole lot more. It would be really cool if the Foundation were able to eventually foster generation of tools for the Pi (probably multiple Pii working in concert) that could produce and display e-books like that of "Life on Earth" - the video, 2-D vector, and 3-D graphics display capabilities are already there in the hardware and low-level software. They already have the beginnings of a store (which I'm not thrilled with, but this post can only get so long), so an extension of that might be workable for textbooks.
As for the dream of a single platform on which one could develop all of their personally-desired functionality, please let us know when you find it. Life is a compromise from the get-go - despite the delight in preparing and consuming food, wouldn't all of us rather live without the messiness of waste products? Do the wonders of technology come with the risk of pollution? Heck, even living in "paradise" on a tropical island comes with the price of sunburns, increased risk of cancer, and becoming shark bait - been there, done that, got the ripped wet T-shirt!