CES 2012, Las Vegas

Eben and I will be in Las Vegas for CES 2012 next week. Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a stand this year; Eben will actually be on the Broadcom stand representing them for his day job during the show itself; and I’m probably not going to be on-site, although I will be somewhere nearby. We will both be available to talk about Raspberry Pi, though, and we’d love to meet some of you if you’re in Vegas.


Nghia avatar

Hi Liz/Eben
Any plan to be also at 3GSM Congress in Barcelona late Feb?

liz avatar

That’s a definitely-possibly-perhaps!

Will Cooke avatar

Be sure to stop by the Canonical stand if you’re passing, I’d love to talk to you! You can find us located on the Upper Level of South Hall 4 – Booth #35379

If we can meet during the show let’s get a beer and talk Ubuntu.

liz avatar

I think Eben’s going to be welded to the Broadcom stand, and I won’t be in the hall – but we’re always up for beers afterwards.

Harley avatar

Cool! Hope to see a demo of XBMC media center software running in 1080p on the Raspberry Pi at CES this year :)

Pavel Polak avatar

this is the reason why I will buy R-Pi when it comes out.

G avatar

Me too! XBMC on ARM at 1080p!

Pete Cousins avatar

Me too, please! And another raspberry pi for ‘tinkering’.

M1C4HTRON13 avatar

I don’t think XBMC has an ARM build
although I might be wrong

liz avatar

The XBMC guys are actually working with an alpha board on a port at the moment. No eta, but they say it’s going well.

LinuxBoi avatar

OMG – Now that is exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Harley avatar

XBMC has already been ported to ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and x86

It runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, and the old Xbox :D

Love to see OpenELEC or GeeXboX with XBMC on Raspberry Pi!

Harley avatar

XBMC developers have now posted this teaser video of it starting:

deaid avatar

good luck!

DeliciousRaspberryCake avatar

It would appear strange if Eben Upton gets more Raspberry-Pi-related questions than questions regarding the actual Broadcom line-up of products~, though I see it as quite a big possibility

Anyway, great to see an update

nelson avatar

I would not call it strange, i would call it a success, at least for this project :P , lets not forget that this has the potential to be one of the biggest publicity stunts that broadcom could not afford otherwise (i mean this in a positive way has without their support we would never got our new shiny toys)

JamesH avatar

I think the Broadcom upper management are quite surprised how much press Broadcom are getting!

alecthegeek avatar

I used to hate Broadcom with a passion because of problem WiFi drivers under Linux in 2006. However I’ve forgiven them because of their support for RasPi :-)

Allaun avatar

Heh, I used to hate them too. I had a onboard chipset that I called “Bracom” because it didn’t support *ANYTHING* under linux.

C avatar

Don’t get overly optimistic. It sounds like Raspberry Pi will have drivers made of a huge closed source binary blob, which is basically the reason why you had those problems with the WiFi card. Expect similar problems if you want to use your own kernel.

liz avatar

God, I love the air of optimism you zealots project.

C avatar

liz, Raspberry Pi is a great project and I’ll buy a board to tinker with once you start mass producing them. However, it looks like Broadcom will screw us over with closed source drivers and by not making the SoC documentation publicly available. I don’t really care that much about accelerated graphics and the video decoder. I’d be happy just to have Free Software which takes me from powering the board to the login prompt.

Please don’t call me a ‘zealot’, I think my concern is entirely legitimate. It’s not like this is a non-issue, Broadcom hasn’t done similar stuff in the past or there aren’t other ARM SoC which work perfectly fine with 100% FLOSS.

JamesH avatar

To be honest I’m getting a bit bored with all this rubbish. I’m not saying you are a zealot, just misinformed. Broadcom will not ‘screw us over’. You will have access to in excess of 90% of the features of the GPU through the provided drivers. The last few percent are pretty uninteresting the the vast majority of users. (some interfaces etc). There will be documentation for most stuff accessible from the Arm e.g. GPIO’s.

You will have free software that gets you to a Linux prompt, or desktop or whatever. No problem. If you have no need of the GPU (except for display out) or video encode, even better – you would be using very little non-OSS stuff.

There are *NO* other Arm SoC available at this performance and this price that are fully OSS. You information there is incorrect. I’d also like you to name an occurrence where Broadcom has done this in the past bearing in mind this is the first project of its kind.

If you need the SoC specs e.g. memory bandwidths, BGA pinouts etc, then you presumably have a project which needs an Arm+GPU which isnt a Raspi, so therefore you would need to approach Broadcom themselves.That’s nothing to do with the foundation.

Finally, this IS a non-issue for the use to which the Raspi is intended, that of helping teach children programming.

JamesH avatar

‘C – Not been paying attention? All the USB adapters I have tried (Wireless, Bluetooth and GPS) have worked fine on my Raspi board. That’s using a Debian kernel. Me thinks you need to get off your high horse before it falls over.

C avatar

JamesH, That’s not what I was saying. Of course that USB devices will work as long as the kernel you’re using includes drivers for them. My concern is about the closed source drivers used for on-board peripherals, plus the lack of an SoC technical reference manual.

More exactly, if you’ll want to use a newer kernel it’s likely that those drivers won’t work. They’re not open source so they can’t be ported by the community. The SoC isn’t documented, so the community can’t write open source drivers.

Sure, in the end the whole thing might get reversed engineered. But it took years to get stable open source drivers for Broadcom WiFi cards.

JamesH avatar

Please search/read the forums – all this stuff have been gone over time and time again, but to repeat AGAIN, Broadcom/Foundation will be recompiling closed drivers as necessary when abi’s change. The Foundation will continue to supply working kernels. If you want a non-supported kernel then that is YOUR lookout – you will be using non-standard code which is not guaranteed to work – jsut as if you had rooted your Android device for example. The kernels supplied by the Foundation WILL work with the advertised features.

I doubt it’s even possible to reverse engineer this stuff btw.

C avatar

This isn’t going anywhere so I’ll wrap up:

I wasn’t talking about the electrical or physical specs of the SoC, but about the Technical Reference Manual, documenting the capabilities and how to use them, like TI has for the SoCs used in BeagleBoard, or Freescale has for i.MX53, etc.

I understand why this SoC was chosen for Raspberry Pi. It’s probably the best compromise. But you should admit that this isn’t a non-issue and it sounds like the Raspberry Pi foundation has a strategy in place so that most users won’t be affected if all goes well. Put this in a blog post and maybe you won’t need to repeat yourself so often.

As for when Broadcom has done something similar in the past, alecthegeek has mentioned their WiFi drivers. Seriously, read on how that went.

JamesH avatar

Well, most of the currently useful capabilities for the SoC are already documented – the standard Linux API’s for OpenGL ES, OpenVG and EGL. There is also OpenMAX for the encode stuff, but that’s a pain so there is documention to be done there. Docs for the GPIO etc will be provided. SO I’m really not sure (apart from encode decode) wht you issue is with documentation.

As to the Wifi stuff, years ago, and not the same thing. There is a big difference between trying to use a Wifi chip and using a complete board based on a SoC. I’ll agree, Broadcom don’t have a stellar rep for producing either drivers or docs for their chips in the past – basically they are a profitable business and wanted to stay that way and that means big custom only. Although their attitude is changing internally you’ll be pleased to hear, and the Raspi project is be a good influence in that respect.

Raspberrypibrasil avatar

I wonder if you think of coming to Brazil as a campus party 2012.

Raspberry Pi Brasil avatar

I wonder if you think of coming to Brazil as a campus party 2012

t3ddftw avatar

I knew living in Vegas and going to CES would be extra awesome this year :). See you there!

JamesH avatar

Damn. Once again I miss out on the jollies.

Anyway, for anyone going, if you do get a chance to get on to the Broadcom stand there is some pretty funky stuff being demonstrated, not just Raspi stuff. I would tell you what, but then I would have to DESTROY YOU ALL.

polkunus avatar

Oh my god.

1750 pounds? Really? wow.


mark avatar

CES – this is what its really for.
Good luck guys !!

moroka avatar

Wow, RPI one of the best vaporwares recently.

JamesH avatar

Vapourware? Don’t be an idiot. The first boards are actually FOR SALE at the moment, and the main production run will be Jan/Feb this year. I’ve actually SEEN one, and it has no vapourous characteristics.

John avatar

How rude! I guess you’re just baiting.

markpouncey avatar

Hey– i’m in Atlanta, GA, USA && don’t have time to drive out to Vegas again this year– but, do have time to reply to a gmail. I would like to talk to ya’ll about helping build your distribution ( i am assuming that’s why ya’ll are flying out to Vegas, as that’s no short trip… ) && have posted a coupl’a notes about this on your site in the last week or so,– would you be kind enough to have someone shoot me a reply– when they have time– to discuss allowing me an opportunity of setting up a distributorship here in Atlanta ( i have some good things to bring to the table )??
Kind Regards, mark-p.
P.S. when you get to Vegas, the only advice i can give you is– Bet It All On RED 17 !!! :)

JamesH avatar

Email [email protected]. Don’t expect a quick answer though, she is very very busy.

Bikko avatar

Eben : Ebay auctions going well
Liz: yes
Eben: Holy s**t Las Vegas here we come :P

meltwater avatar

Next time you see Eben, he’ll have Gold teeth!

I have a feeling the roulette wheel they are spinning with the R-Pi is probably enough worry without putting it all on lucky number 7.

Pleased the auctions are going well.

JamesH avatar

I hope that supposed to be a joke.

Renzo avatar

Maybe somebody asked this question already…

Will you show up at FOSDEM? (Brussels Feb. 4-5).
I think you can find there a huge crowd of enthusiastic developers (and you could sell/pre-sell there thousands of RasPi per day ;-)

[…] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } http://www.raspberrypi.org – Today, 9:09 […]

Ian Dixon avatar

I will be at CES and would love to record an interview for my site. Could we arrange a time?

liz avatar

Absolutely – drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll try to sort something out.

I am going to be in the zigbee pavilion avatar

I am going to be in the zigbee pavilion, for my day job with RFMD booth 21318j. can I just come over and talk to Eben during his booth duty time? ( what is his booth duty time? Don’t wanna get him in trouble. I have been a huge advocate on G+ for you guys. I love Raspberry

liz avatar

There won’t be any problems at all if you come over and talk to him while he’s on the booth. The Broadcom guys have been warned, and say it’s fine. :) Having said that, I don’t think he knows when his times are, so just drop by occasionally until you spot a Jason Statham lookalike.

Stephen Downward avatar

I live in Canada :/

mohammed belal uddin avatar

hi liz how are you? my company rep will be there in the show, can he pick one for me from the show? what is your booth number?

Jim avatar

Pity your not at CES would have been the most interesting product hands down, even more interesting than stories about android tablets which i always find hard to swallow

amuniqueman16 avatar

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JamesH avatar

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, we will be unable to ship the Raspberry Pi to your planet.


We got to interview Eben at CES yesterday for a local television station (nothing ground breaking or anything, more of a “to get the word out in town” thing, everything seen on the front page or faq page here) and besides the time it took Broadcom to find him, it was a great experience. We chatted a few minutes before and after the interview and well, he seemed ecstatic that the Raspberry Pi will be out soon as were we!

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