Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your call is important to us

Just over a year ago now I blogged about a cool innovation called the Raspberry Pi computer, it's basically a £25 device about the size of a credit card and aimed at the education market, specifically, teaching children how to program computers in an attempt to inspire them to innovate. The device proved so popular with everyone (not just educational institutions) that ever since there has been a massive supply-demand problem, essentially they can't make them quick enough and I suspect don't have the capital investment to scale the manufacturing up to meet demand.

The excitement around this idea is somewhat reminiscent of the excitement that existed about the cheap early home computers of the 1980's such as the Sinclair ZX80 and Spectrum devices and the BBC micro. This parallel even extends to a horribly overloaded production cycle and typically British queuing system in order to place an order; I worry that it will ultimately extend to the squandering of the advantage of being first to mass-market just like the UK computer boom of the 80s did.

I received an email this morning informing me that soon I would be "invited" to place my order, then I'd  have to wait another 11-14 weeks for delivery. Whilst we often put up with this kind of stuff here in the UK (because we're all eccentric don't you know) it seems to me like an opportunity missed. Imagine the impact of having a million of these devices ready to go on launch day and capitalising on all that interest and excitement. Clearly such a bold move would have required big shiny brass ones and a tidy pile of cash up front, neither things that UK Ltd. is particularly good at organising. I know one thing for sure, the money would have been better spent exploiting this industry than on any financial bail out fund.

No comments: