BBC Micro:Bit Delayed Until Next Spring

By James O Malley on at

The BBC has been forced to delay the launch of its new Micro:Bit computer that it had planned to dish out to school kids, following manufacturing problems.

Wired reports that the corporation had been planning to distribute 1m of the devices to Year 7 pupils as they start school this month to encourage them to get coding, but it now looks like kids won't be receiving their tiny computers until as late as the Spring term next year. What makes this particularly annoying is that the news will no doubt upset teachers' lesson plans, and limit the value that kids will get out of the new device.

The problems apparently stem from tough delivery deadlines and redesigns late in the manufacturing process. The original prototype that was originally shown off to the press was eventually deemed "too ugly", and the features that were demanded kept changing. Apparently even how the device would be powered changed at the last minute - changing from a "coin shaped" round battery to an external AA battery pack.

What makes it slightly awkward for the BBC is that the initial release was supposed to coincide with the BBC's massive Make It Digital season of programmes which started this week - perhaps most notably with a feature length drama on the Grand Theft Auto controversy starring Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar founder Dan Houser.

As Wired notes, the delay isn't without precedent from a generation ago. The original BBC Micro computer was released in 1982 after lengthly delays - prompting outcry from commentators back then too.

Perhaps the kids should just be given a Raspberry Pi instead? [Wired]