Even Cheaper Raspberry Pi Launched

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The tiny Linux board has lost the Ethernet, USB, and $10 off its price tag

On Monday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched an even cheaper version of its low-cost, ARM-based miniature computer.

Called the ‘Model A’, the new board is priced at just $25 (£16), excluding tax and shipping. It has less RAM, no Ethernet and only one USB port. As a result, it is slightly smaller and consumes only a third of the power necessary to run the original ‘Model B’.

The new boards have started shipping to Europe, and are available from the usual two official suppliers – RS Components and Premier Farnell (element14). According to the Foundation, worldwide availability is coming “very soon”.

Trimming the fat

Raspberry Pi, created by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, is a basic computer that can be connected to a TV or monitor via HDMI. It can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, including office work, Internet browsing and high-definition video playback – all possible through a circuit board the size of a credit card.

Model AThe device was designed primarily to get children interested in programming. In just a year since its launch, it has sold around a million units and amassed an enthusiastic following worldwide.

The model A has 256Mb of  RAM – half as much as the Model B, which means it will be appropriate for less demanding applications. And thanks to the low power consumption, the new board is perfect for projects that are run from a battery or a solar panel – “robots, sensor platforms in remote locations, Wi-Fi repeaters attached to the local bus stop and so forth,” suggests Liz Upton, Foundation’s marketing manager.

The Foundation is also working on a software solution to drive the power consumption down even further.

All the new Model A’s are being made at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Wales, following a multi-million pound deal in September. Every board leaving the plant is silkscreen printed with a “Made in the UK” logo.

“We are very, very pleased to finally be able to offer you a computer for $25. It’s what we said we’d do all along, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it,” said Liz Upton.

“The arrival of the Model A board is great news for anyone wishing to develop low-power applications with their Raspberry Pi,” commented Glenn Jarrett, global head of Product Marketing at RS. “The $25 price point makes it even more attractive to system integrators, and increases accessibility for those working within a restricted budget, such as in education.”

It should be noted that after launch in February 2012, all Raspberry Pi’s were shipping with 256 MB of RAM. This was upgraded to 512 MB in October, without any impact on price.

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