The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.
The RPi is more than that, its more than the sum of its parts. You can press into use for just about anything from a Car-puter, media centre pc to any sort of NAS / web / data server. Its GPIO is great for hooking up practically anything to and of course lets not overlook its original purpose as an educational tool.
I think its main success factor is the price, I got mine from ebay with a case thrown in for only £30 delivered! I doesn't come packaged with anything else and you do need a few bits and bobs to get it going, but none of it is bespoke and I have managed to scrounge all of it:
And thats it, no additional outlay
|Chip||Broadcom BCM2835 SoC full HD multimedia applications processor|
|CPU||700 MHz Low Power ARM1176JZ-F Applications Processor|
|GPU||Dual Core VideoCore IV® Multimedia Co-Processor|
|Ethernet||onboard 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 jack|
|USB 2.0||Dual USB Connector|
|Video Output||HDMI (rev 1.3 & 1.4) Composite RCA (PAL and NTSC)|
|Audio Output||3.5mm jack, HDMI|
|Onboard Storage||SD, MMC, SDIO card slot|
|Operating System||Linux: wheezy-raspbian|
|Dimensions||8.6cm x 5.4cm x 1.7cm|