What is RaspBerry Pi and, why it is awesome?
RaspBerry Pi is a tiny credit-card sized SoC computer developed in UK by the RaspBerry Pi Foundation. Its main purpose was to promote basic computer sience in schools, but avarge Joe have shown huge interest in the cheap computer.
A short roundup on major releases.
RaspBerry Pi 1 was released in February 2012 with its single-core ARM11 at 700MHz and 256MiB memory and 10/100Mbit ethernet running at only 1-1,5 Watts. It soon proved to be popular and 1 year later a 512MiB version(RaspBerry Pi B+) was released. At this time RasPlex came to life as well as hundreds of projects and OS's. At one time someone made a "working" Android port. The GPU was not powerfull enough and with big limitation on it just using a SD card it was soon abondened.
A few years passed and out of the blue February 2015 RapBerry Pi 2 was released. Probably because RaspBerry Pi began to be weak compared to its compeditors. It had a 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1024MiB memory and still only 10/100Mbit using 4 Watts. With this release Microsoft jumped on the road with its Windows 10 IoT Core. RasPlex started to become real good at this time.
One year later at february 2016 they came with a surprise release again. RaspBerry Pi 3 is born. With its 1200 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and 1024 MiB memory using 4 Watts they started to show some real muscles. Still only 10/100Mbit wired, but they added a onboard WiFi so you no longer need a USB dongle if you want WiFi. Snappy Ubuntu Core and Ubuntu MATE is now possible.
I notice I wrote alot about RasPlex. That is far from all a RaspBerry Pi can do. It feature GPIO pins where you can connect almost all kinds of LED's, buttons, IR reciever, motor drivers, TFT screens, LCD screens, Camera, DAC and much more. You then program in Python or C to get input or produce output and you can create all short of things.
Just a few projects people have made is New Mail Notification Light, Raspberry Pi Wall Mounted Google Calendar, Raspberry Pi - SMS Garage Door Butler, Raspberry Pi Solar Weather Station. The possibilities is almost endless.
If you are interesting in buying one you can get a RaspBerry Pi 3 with just the board if you already have a HDMI cable, old USB charger for power and a SD card lying around, or a RaspBerry Pi 3 complete starter kit containing everything you need.
You can read more at the official website