THE BBC has once again delayed the delivery of the micro:bit computer board designed to get UK school kids into coding.
The credit card-sized board is part of the BBC's Make It Digital initiative to inspire digital creativity in young people across the UK. It was launched in July in partnership with companies including ARM, Samsung, Barclays and Microsoft.
It was supposed to land in the palms of a million Year 7 students last September, but the BBC announced at that time that it wouldn't even be ready for Christmas. A power supply problem was said to have caused the delay, and some glum expressions, according to statements from the development team.
Sinead Rocks, head of BBC Learning, announced the delay on an official BBC blog, explaining that the power problem affects a small number of units and should mean only a short delay in the release schedule.
Rocks added that this will also let the development team add more and better features and prepare teachers for the experience, so it could actually be a good thing.
"As you would expect, rigorous and extensive testing of the BBC micro:bit has been another key focus over the summer. It's a new piece of hardware developed in conjunction with a coalition of expert partners, and getting the device right before we manufacture a million of them for distribution is our priority," she said.
"As a result of this testing, we've decided to make some minor revisions to the way power is supplied around the board as this was affecting a few devices in rare and isolated instances."
However, the BBC revealed at the BETT education trade show in London on Wednesday that these problems still haven't been resolved and that the micro:bit will be further delayed.
"The main issue has been some fine tuning. We have created the hardware, and it's very complex, very sophisticated and very new," said BBC Learning executive Cerys Griffiths.
"What we were really hoping was that teachers would get their devices before Christmas. But our commitment to teachers has always been that we would get them the devices first to give them time to play and get familiar with them."
It is unclear exactly when schools can expect the machines.
The micro:bit project builds on the legacy of the seminal BBC Micro, which was put into the majority of schools in the 1980s and was influential in the careers of many of today's technology pioneers.
The BBC said that the micro:bit is 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro and 617 times lighter. One of the great things about the micro:bit is that it expands children's conception of what a computer can be by showing how it works and how the components fit together. µ
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