More disappointment with the BBC Micro Bit as it hits a further delay

BBC Micro Bit

Bad news for those of you keenly awaiting the release of the BBC Micro Bit – another delay has been announced.

The Raspberry Pi-style compact computer was supposed to have been made available to school pupils last autumn, but in September last year the Beeb announced that issues with the power supply for the device meant it wouldn't pitch up until early 2016.

And yesterday the BBC announced a further delay during the BETT education trade show, where it was showing off the Micro Bit at the STEAM village (with hands-on and training sessions).

The Beeb said that while delivery to pupils was still on track, the fresh delay concerns getting the device out to teachers. Teachers were supposed to get their Micro Bits before Christmas, but now won't get them until after half-term (i.e. towards the end of February).

A BBC spokesperson told us: "We're still on track to begin delivery of up to 1m free BBC Micro Bits to all year 7 pupils across the UK as part of the current term. Teachers are already getting hands-on via the website and a range of events, and they'll receive their devices just after half-term. We're also sending some additional devices to teachers in the rollout to allow even more children to get creative with the micro:bit."

Complex hardware

And BBC Learning executive Cerys Griffiths stated: "The main issue has been some fine-tuning… we have created hardware, it's very complex, it's very sophisticated, it's very new."

She added: "What we were really hoping for was that the 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."

The power supply was originally a button battery, but that was revised to be an external AA battery pack, which the Beeb has evidently hit issues with.

Despite its diminutive size, the Micro Bit is some 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computer, a machine on which we still fondly remember playing Elite at our mate's house as kids, before it arrived for our Commodore 64s (and it was much, much smoother on the BBC Micro, we can tell you).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).