Looking for a cheap barebones computer to play around with?  We doubt they get any cheaper than the Raspberry Pi, a $25 computer that’s slated to ship as early as January next year.

Aimed at children and developing areas, the machine only needs to be hooked up to a regular TV and a keyboard in order to get it to work.  While we doubt you’ll be playing a lot of games in this, the creators say it should be usable for a lot of low-resource PC tasks, like spreadsheets, word processors and even watching videos.  Their hope is that kids will use it to learn programming (yeah, right, because kids pick up computers so they can work).

For now, it appears the Raspberry Pi, which measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm, will be sold without casing.  What you’ll get is a tiny motherboard with some hardware essentials that make it a capable little machine.  Model A, the $25 version, will include  a 700MHz ARM2 processor, 128MB of RAM, an SD card slot, a USB slot (which can support a hub if you need to connect more than a keyboard), a microUSB slot (which is how it will powered), an RCA video out and an HDMI out.   Model B, which costs $35, adds an Ethernet port and an extra 128MB of RAM to the assembly.

There’s no storage onboard, so you’ll need to run your OS and applications from an SD card.  Supported Linux distros are restricted to Debian, Fedora and ArchLinux (no Ubuntu, sorry).

Granted, the Raspberry Pi won’t revolutionize your computing life anytime soon.  A cheap board like this could definitely get some creative minds going, however, so expect plenty of action from the DIY community as soon as this rolls out.