Raspberry Pi gets its own Appstore

The tiny Raspberry Pi computer is the latest device to get its own app store. The Pi Store opened for custom on 17th December contains a range of apps from games to developers’ tools. Currently there are twenty five apps available to download in the Pi Store, but this number is expected to grow significantly in the coming months.

The Pi Store is a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Indie City – operators of an online marketplace for independent game developers – and Velocix. The foundation launched the store with the aim to enable “young people to share their creations with a wider audience, and maybe to make a little pocket money”. Currently all apps are free to download except Storm in a Teacup. Storm in a Teacup features 50 levels of physics based puzzles and is priced at £1.99.

The range of apps on the Pi Store is already diverse. There are five games on offer including Freeciv which is an open source empire-building strategy game. OpenTTD, the popular open source transport simulation game can also be found in the store. Despotify is a Spotify client for the Raspberry Pi and is free to download, however users need a Spotify Premium account to use the app. LibreOffice brings an extensive suite of office applications to the Raspberry Pi and is compatible with Microsoft Office files. There are also several apps intended to assist Raspberry Pi developers. The Pi Store is also intended to be the hope of “Pi-related” media including the MagPi e-magazine and tutorials produced from the community.

The Raspberry Pi has widely been regarded as a success since its launch earlier in the year. Amateur and professional developers alike have written and ported a wide range of applications to run on the system but until now there has been no obvious place to find or distribute these applications. The Pi Store changes this and will greatly simplify the experience for developers and users.

A blog post on the Raspberry Pi foundation website encourages the community of Raspberry Pi users to embrace the store. The community has been asked to submit their own projects to populate the store and to review and rate the apps already on offer. The store features a clever recommendation engine which will learn about you and your preferences as you rate, review and download apps. These recommendations will improve as you interact more and more with the store.

The Pi store itself is easily browsed and well constructed. Apps can be found through their category or through their tags. There is also useful search and sort functions in the store. All apps on the store have a content rating so users know whether the content is appropriate for the recipient. Given that the Raspberry Pi is based upon an open source platform all apps also detail their associated licences so users are aware if they can modify or redistribute the app.

To download apps from the store, Raspberry Pi users must first download the Raspberry Pi Store application. Users can download the application from Raspberry Pi’s official download page.

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Minecraft for Raspberry Pi

The little tiny Raspberry Pi will get its first exclusive game. Now, if you don’t know anything about Raspberry Pi, read this article about it. But if you don’t have the time for it, in short you should know that Raspberry Pi is that tiny mini PC that costs $25 and is the size of a USB flash drive.

The first game to run officially on it will a port of the popular Minecraft (more exactly Minecraft: Pocket Edition) the indie sandbox survival game developed by Mojang. Also known as Minecraft: Pi Edition, the game was officially announced at Minecon in Paris. The interesting thing about this version of Minecraft is that it will feature support for several programming languages that will allow any user not only to play it, but also to modify it while playing. You can literally break the code and manipulate anything in the game.

Mojang’s Owen Hill explains. “You could organize the cheapest LAN party of all time, or use the Pi to learn the fundamentals of programming on a miniscule budget. It’s like hacking your way into Minecraft and modifying the game world with code, a bit like being [game developers] Notch, Jeb, or Nathan, but arguably more fun and less stressful”.

The game will be available for free soon at the official Raspberry Pi website.

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$49 Android PC by VIA

You might have heard of Raspberry PI, the very low cost, credit-card sized computer that generated a lot of excitement – mostly for its price and size. Well, now it’s time for some real competition.

VIA Technologies, the company primarily known for motherboard chipsets, just unveiled a $49 APC Android PC system which comes with a browser, a selection of preinstalled apps and optimization for keyboard and mouse input, plus hardware acceleration for demanding video formats.

Powered by a WonderMedia ARM processor at 800MHz, APC integrates memory (DDR3 512MB), storage (2GB NAND Flash), and a full set of consumer I/O features, APC can be connected to a TV or monitor. APC consumes only 4 watts when operating at idle power and 13.5 watts at maximum load. This is ten times less than a standard PC system and ensures significant power savings in large scale deployments.

APC Android PC features:

  • Optimized Android OS
  • HD TV support
  • Hardware acceleration of the most demanding video formats
  • VGA and HDMI display ports
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • One microSD slot
  • One 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Audio-out/ Mic-in
  • VIA WonderMedia ARM 11 SoC
  • 2 GB NAND Flash
  • 512 DDR3 SDRAM
  • 15W power adaptor

For more information, please visit APC website

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