When the first Raspberry Pi single board computer launched in 2012, many people were surprised that anyone could pack that much computing power into such a small space and charge only $35.
Over the years the folks behind it have improved on the Raspberry Pi while still keeping the price at $35, and now they’ve gone one better.
Earlier today Ars Technica broke the news on the Pi Zero, a new version of the Raspberry Pi which is launching today in the UK, where it is being sold bundled with the December edition of TheMagPi magazine.
The Raspberry Pi Zero is powered by the same CPU as the origninal Raspberry Pi, only with a faster clock speed. It packs in a 1GHzBroadcom BCM2835 chip with 512MB RAM, a microSD card slot, 2 micro USB ports (data and power); and a mini HDMI port which can output at 1080p.
And just to be clear, this isn’t a computer so much as it’s the guts of one. At a minimum you’re going to need cables and storage (which some of us already have) and possibly a display (ditto). The official cable kit costs £4, and if you want to turn your Pi Zero into a reading device, the official Raspberry pi 7″ display will set you back £52 plus shipping.
But still, that’s a lot of power for something the size of a couple sticks of gum and costs less than a movie ticket, but most importantly the Pi Zero has the same 40 GPIO pins as found on previous Raspberry Pi models. This means that it can run just about any program developed for previous models, including Raspbian, or replace older models.
For example, remember the Kindle Pi, which used a Kindle to serve as a display for a Raspberry Pi? The Pi Zero can do that.
And all that fits on a board which measures 65mm x 30mm x 5mm.