BBC’s $19 Micro Bit Raspberry Pi Rival Is Now Available For Anyone To Purchase

micro bit 1
Last year, the BBC embarked on an ambitious project to help inspire children to code. The BBC’s “Make it Digital” initiative aimed to put one million Micro:bit computers into the hands of Year 7 students (11 and 12 year olds) in the UK for free, and drew on the expertise of software and hardware partners including Microsoft, ARM and Samsung.

After the successful rollout of the Micro:bit to UK school children, attention is being turned to the general public. The Micro:bit is now available commercially at a starting price of £13 or around $19, which will get you just the board and nothing else. A Micro:bit Go starter bundle tosses in the board itself, a USB cable, a battery holder, two AA batteries and a Quick Start Guide for £12.29. However, you have to purchase the device in lots of 90 to receive that pricing.

micro bit 2

The retail rollout was made possible by a licensing agreement that the BBC reached with the device’s maker, element14. The Micro:bit will also be available from a wide range of retail partners including Microsoft.

micro bit

The Micro:bit is powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor and measures just 2-inches by 1.6-inches. It includes a microUSB connector, Bluetooth connectivity, a 3-axis accelerometer and a built-in compass. The Micro:bit also incorporates two push buttons for input and has a group of 25 individually programmable LED lights. As mentioned above, the Micro:bit is powered by just a couple of standard AA batteries.

The market for tiny, low-powered programmable computers is hot right now with Raspberry Pi garnering the lion’s share of the attention. Raspberry Pi recently introduced a revised “Zero” that now includes an FPC camera connection. The tiny computer uses a 1GHz Broadcom BCM2835 processor, includes a microSD reader and mini HDMI port for video out. Best of all, the Raspberry Pi Zero is priced at a low $5.