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The History Of Camcorder Media, And An Introduction To Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Zero

Chris brought us back in IFA history with the story behind the different kinds of camcorder storage:

Camcorders with built-in VHS or Beta cassettes were bulky. The industry tried to size down with smaller cassettes. VHS-C was a reduced VHS format, in 1982 8mm-Video was announced. In 1989 at the Internationale Funkausstellung, IFA for insiders, Sony introduced Video-8 High band. Years later, With the introduction of the solid state technology at IFA 2001, (the SD card by most manufacturers and the Memory Stick by Sony one year later) camcorder could finally be drastically reduced in size as the cards were tiny and there was no drive needed. Cassette based camcorders started to disappear from the market.

Dan in Durham, North Carolina listening on WPTF 680 AM asked:

I want to know what this Raspberry Pi device is

A Raspberry Pi is a very small computer, roughly the size of a credit card (though considerably thicker), that comes with a CPU, RAM, some USB ports, a network port, an SD card port, and little else.

It’s not meant to be a replacement for a real computer, though people have used them that way, but for $35 you get a tiny brain that can power your homebuilt devices.

To put things into perspective, at best you can expect this thing to have the power of a smartphone, and not even a top of the line smartphone.

$35 buys you the computing part of the computer, not the input or output parts, so you will have to also buy a monitor of some kind (you can use a TV), a mouse, a keyboard, an SD card (onto which you will have to install an operating system, since it doesn’t come with one), any other peripherals you may want to add (like a WiFi or bluetooth dongle for example), and even a power source (a phone charger should do).

In the end, you will probably spend close to what you would for a low end computer or Chromebook, so if you’re looking for a computer you probably have better options.

Having said that, if you’re looking for the brains of your homebuilt automatic cat feeder, or homemade weather station, or fighting robot, or even old Gameboy emulator, or a complicated way to turn a regular hard drive into a NAS hard drive then the Pi might be for you.

It’s basically a hobbyist’s device, more than a device for the general public, but if you like to tinker with your electronics, you may enjoy playing around with one, just be aware of it’s limitations.

And when we say the Raspberry Pi is a small computer, we mean it’s a small circuit board that you could use to BUILD a computer. That’s the first thing that usually strikes Raspberry Pi novices. It’s just a board. No case, nothing that you’re used to seeing when you open that new computer box.

Raspberry Pi computers are excellent in schools, especially science labs, as students get to understand the inner workings of the computer. It’s like one of those skinless human body mannequins that lurk in the corners of science labs and expose muscles, bones, and organs to the unwary student.

In short, a great device–in its place. Not exactly a consumer tech product, though.

In case you’re asking because of heard of the Raspberry Pi Zero that came one a few weeks ago, the Zero does cost $5 and it’s even smaller than the other offerings, but it’s not very powerful and it has fewer ports. You’ll also have a really hard time finding anywhere for $5, it’s much easier to find it for around $25-30, these days and even then they’re not easy to come by.

Red in Delaware Listens To WDEL 1150 asked:

How come no one makes a tablet that can also be used as a regular phone?

One of the main reason why tablets haven’t come out with the phone capability feature is basically to keep costs down and many cellphone carriers want to sell phones and tablets, and if they combine both together, they are concerned it will affect sales.

However, there are some tablets that do carry this feature such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Dell Streak 7 but they’re not designed primarily for phone use.

Or … some have said there is a size limit on what can be considered an actual phone versus a tablet. Dell Streak 7 has Sim Card capabilities but is currently only available in Canada. There are apps you can use that require Wi-Fi, mobile data or possibly both such as TextPlus, ooVoo, fring, and Skype being the most popular of the calling apps. These apps are available on Android and Apple devices.

Not enough people want them.

There may even be a simpler answer. Not enough people want them. It’s expensive to design and build a consumer electronics device. It only makes sense to do it if you believe that you’re going to sell a bunch of them. And while we get a question like yours every once in a while, we’re confident that the number of people out there who want to spend money on a tablet that is also a phone isn’t large enough to justify making one. How do we know? Well…because no one makes such a device. And they would, if they thought they could sell it.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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