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I am looking for a cheap computer to distribute with my software & hardware. This will make convincing small businesses to change its platform easier. Instead of buying a $300+ computer, give them a $30 Raspberry Pi...

Since the vision of the RPi team was to make cheap computers so children can learn to program, I thought there might be a licence preventing commercial use.

  • In what way? As a server? In a kiosk? – Alex Chamberlain Jun 13 '12 at 12:27
  • @AlexChamberlain I am looking for a cheap computer to distribute with my software & hardware. This will make convincing small businesses to change its platform easier. Instead of buying a $300+ computer, give them a $30 Raspberry Pi... I'm now looking into Cotton Candy and those Small Android PC devices as an alternative - this will also make the scalability on the Android platform easier. – ISJ Jun 13 '12 at 13:06
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As a right, you can purchase a Raspberry Pi and use it for what ever intended purpose that you desire.

However, the major problem that you could run into is the level of availability. RPi's are hot little devices with limited availability. Demand will certainly cool off in the near future but even in regards to a longer time frame (a year or two) production capacity may not be wide enough to fill larger quantity orders (1000+) for commercial applications.

Long term, this may be a possibility but for the foreseeable future the RPi may not be your best choice for an embedded commercial computer system unless you are expecting to integrate the device in a very very small number of units and you are willing to wait a long time to receive your own inventory.

Only you know your specific needs and can justify the use of the device.

UPDATE

Yesterday (July 16, 2012), the official Raspberry Pi blog released information stating that production of the RPi boards is being significantly ramped up and that purchase orders should be filled within 4 to 6 week lead times and bulk orders of the device can now be placed.

Of course, if you need an excessively large number of units (i.e. multi-thousand), receiving your Pis may take more time than the alloted 4-6 weeks. Additionally, Gizmodo has reported that production has been ramped up to 4,000 units per day. I believe that for most cases this production quantity should meet the demand of most small to mid-sized projects.

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This is one area where I believe the Pi could really shine - suddenly we're at the point where, in terms of cost, you can feasibly hand a computer with your software on as a sample, all set up and ready to go (rather than say a USB stick.)

I think in the future this will be a great use case for them - a year or two from now perhaps. At the moment it's not really viable due to limited availability, but in the not too distant future, I'd say definitely.

  • 2
    Plus, people would be handing out computers, which is awesome. – Zoot Jul 17 '12 at 16:39

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