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InfoQ Homepage News Raspberry Pi Launches the Zero, a $5 Computer

Raspberry Pi Launches the Zero, a $5 Computer

The Raspberry Pi foundation has launched the Raspberry Pi Zero, a cut-down version of the Model A but which sells for five dollars, or four pounds. Like the original Raspberry Pi the intent is to get computing into the hands of everyone, and by shrinking the size of the board and moving to mini ports (such as micro USB, micro SD and mini HDMI) it has been possible to shrink the cost of the device itself, down to $5. 

The device is so small and cheap that it is being given away as part of a magazine cover on this month's MagPi magazine, like the CDs of yesteryear that used to be given out on magazines (or the cassettes before it, for those that remember).

The device is slower than today's Raspberry Pi, but is faster than the original board, coming with 1/2 Gb of memory and a 1GHz ARM11 based Broadcom processor. It has the same input/output pins, but they are unpopulated on the board - meaning that there are no pins sticking out for wire-wrap or socket connectors. However it's possible to solder directly to the board itself, or have a male-male pin extender for those devices that need to re-use the socket connectors.

Because of its diminuitive size, the micro USB port and computing power means that traditional USB devices may require a USB On The Go connector, in order to work with the Raspberry Pi's limited set.

Gareth Halfacree, who has been provided with a review copy of the Raspberry Pi and wrote several of the articles in the MagPi magazine announcing its release, writes:

The ports that do remain have also been modified: the full-size HDMI port is replaced by a mini-HDMI, and the full-size USB port is a micro-USB port which requires a USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter before it can be connected to standard USB peripherals.

In doing this, the Foundation has created a device that excites me even more than the full-size models. With a production cost so low that it can be cover-mounted on a high-street magazine, it’s now possible to put a full Linux computer in more project than ever before – and with a simple low-cost USB OTG adapter and a Wi-Fi dongle, it can be networked for a total outlay of well below $10. It is, in short, a game-changer

The Raspberry Pi zero is available from all the Raspberry Pi stockists (although they are already sold out in the UK), and is available on the cover of this month's MagPi magazine.

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