Raspberry Pi Gets An App Store
Raspberry Pi Gets An App Store
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Should we call it the pie shop? The single board low cost ARM computer Raspberry Pi now has an app store where you can, if you want to, sell your work.


Raspberry Pi has been a huge success in terms of people wanting one and doing things with it. Many of the things that people have been doing go well beyond the sort of "educational" tool that the Pi was intended to be - but this is in the nature of computing.

The big problem with any new hardware is getting the software you need but as a Linux ARM system presumable this isn't such a big problem for the Pi. However there seem to be enough unique features to make it worth launching an official app store or Pi Store.

You can access the app store via the web but the simplest way of getting downloads on a Raspberry Pi is to use the store app under Raspbian - the Pi's own custom Linux.  The latest SD images of Raspbian contain the download app but you can add it to older versions. This raises the question of why the Pi Store has found it necessary to provide a loader in place of apt or aptitude say. The reason is that they want to support paid apps.

At the moment there are only 20 or so apps in the store and 8 of those are actually copies of MapPi the non-official magazine of the Pi. Some of the apps are familiar open source offerings such as LibreOffice but there are one or two games including Storm In a Teacup which sells for £1.99.  There are also some developer tools - a Python 3D system and some media packs.

The initial showing of apps may be small but what is more interesting is the number of developers who have signed up to show their intention of submitting something - perhaps? You can submit binaries, Python code and media.  Scratch code is promised in the near future. You can make your apps free or paid for and even the free apps have a tip jar. There is also a rating system.

The idea that you can offer paid for apps in an app store is something that should attract some additional attention and it confuses the place that the Pi occupies. Initially it seemed that the Raspberry Pi was aimed at teaching people to program and to an extent some people have used them in this way. However far more seemed to have used them as dedicated systems simply because they are cheap. Others have used them as ARM substitutes for say the Arudino in physical computing projects. Now the Pi Store makes it seem as if the Pi could be a competitor to ARM games consoles such as the OUYA. It is another development that is worth keeping an eye on. Do we really now have two open source ARM platforms - Android and Raspberry Pi?



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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2012 )

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