Since early 2012, the Raspberry Pi microcomputer has changed the world of tinkering and gadget building. With their Model A and Model B units ranging in price from $20 to $35, people who normally would be priced out of being able to own a fully programmable computer have been able to build awesome projects and schools and educators have been able to get these great learning tools into hands of students.
While inexpensive, the team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation said that they still heard from people that couldn't afford the previous units and since the organization has an educational mission to give as many people as possible the experience of programming a computer, they set out to make an even cheaper version.
Last week, the foundation announced the Raspberry Pi Zero, an even smaller unit that is surprisingly powerful and priced at only $5. It will cost you the same amount to buy a micro-USB or mini-HDMI cable for the computer.
Here are the specs:
A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
A micro-SD card slot
A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
Micro-USB sockets for data and power
An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
An unpopulated composite video header
Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm
You read that right. The Zero, which is roughly half the size of a credit card, has a 40% faster processor than the first generation Raspberry Pi. The Zero is not just some add-on accessory, it's a full-fledged addition to the Raspberry Pi lineup and, continuing with their pledge to keep manufacturing in the UK, the unit is being made in Wales.
The foundation said in a statement, "We’ve built several tens of thousands of units so far, and are building more, but we expect demand to outstrip supply for the next little while."
That has definitely been the case. The first batch of available Zeros sold out in just 24 hours, but more will be coming. In the U.S., you'll be able to purchase a unit through Adafruit or at your local Micro Center. Start brainstorming ideas. We can't wait to see what everyone builds.