The Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced a new version of its kit-based computer that costs just $5. Dubbed Pi Zero, this ultra-low-cost PC can be used for a variety of tasks, but it’s really about letting anyone learn software development for the first time. How nice is that?
“Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important,” Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton writes in a new post to the Raspberry Pi Blog. “Even in the developed world, a programmable computer is a luxury item for a lot of people, and every extra dollar that we ask someone to spend decreases the chance that they’ll choose to get involved.”
Raspberry Pi’s previous PC, the Raspberry Pi 2, isn’t exactly expensive as it is: That device costs just $35. But the Pi Zero takes things to a whole new level.
Like Raspberry Pi 2, the Pi Zero is a very small form factor single-board computer, or a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design with a small logic board providing video-out, RAM, storage, networking, and USB peripheral expansion. The full specs breakdown like so:
- Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
- 1 GHz ARM11 core (40 percent faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
- 512 MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
- One microSD card slot
- One mini-HDMI port for 1080p video output at 60 fps
- Two micro-USB sockets for data and power
- One unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
- One unpopulated composite video header
- Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
- Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm
By comparison, the more full-featured Raspberry Pi 2 has a full 1 GB of RAM, a full-sized HDMI port, an Ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio/composite video jack, and a CSI camera interface.
And like the Raspberry Pi 2, the Pi Zero isn’t complete out of the box: You will need a microSD card for storage, a keyboard, mouse, and display, and some form of networking. And probably a case. But it still represents an incredible low cost of entry.
It doesn’t appear that Windows 10 IoT Core will be made available on the Pi Zero, as it was with the Raspberry Pi 2. But the Linux-based Raspbian distribution is freely available and can be used to run apps and games, and learn software development.
To celebrate the launch of the Pi Zero, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is giving away the tiny PC board with the December 2015 issue of the UK-based The MagPi magazine. (You can get the magazine electronically through Google Play and the Apple App Store, though I don’t believe you get the PC free that way.)
But if you just want to buy Pi Zero, head on over to Adafruit here in the U.S., or snag it at your local Micro Center. In the U.K., you can obtain Pi Zero at element14, The Pi Hut and Pimoroni. And be patinet: Demand will overwhelm supply for the foreseeable future, if the past is any indication.
This is so cool.