If you’re still hungry for pie after Thanksgiving, you might be interested in the newest offering from Raspberry Pi. The British company is offering its Zero PC for a mere $5 (US), or about half the cost of a real pie from your local bakery. The Raspberry Pi Zero, a programmable computer, was previously selling for $25.
The $5 device (pictured above) is Cambridge, U.K.-based Raspberry Pi's smallest so far, measuring only 65mm by 30mm by 5mm. It contains a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and a 1 GHz ARM11 core that the company said is 40 percent faster than Raspberry Pi 1. The Raspberry Pi 2 with enhanced memory and CPU performance is priced at $35.
The release of the $5 PC came shortly after the nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation joined with manufacturing partner Element14 on a new Raspberry Pi customization service for large orders of the microcomputer. The Raspberry Pi Foundation had received a $1 million grant from Google to distribute 15,000 units of the user-built, programmable Raspberry Pi computers to schoolchildren.
Owners of the Raspberry Pi Zero can now customize the board's layout, incorporate additional functionality, redesign the interfaces and alter the memory configuration however they want. Sockets let users plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor.
The computer also comes with a USB data port and sockets for power, video, and a Wi-Fi dongle. The Zero’s input/output bar comes with 40 pins, meaning users can solder wires onto the pins that are connected to any type of external hardware, or even to another computer.
On the company’s blog, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton wrote that the original Raspberry Pi Model B and its successors put a programmable computer within reach of just about anyone. Since the company started in 2012, millions of people have used Raspberry Pis to get their first taste of programming, but Raspberry Pi wanted to cut the price to entice more customers. Made in Wales, the Zero is a full-fledged member of the Raspberry Pi family, according to Upton.
The Zero has 512 MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, as well as 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, the same pinout as Model A+/B+/2B, and an unpopulated composite video header.
The PC runs the free operating system Raspbian as well as apps including Scratch, Minecraft and Sonic Pi. Among the basic processing functions it can perform include operating as a music player, running robots, home automation and sending tweets.
The Zero is on sale now in the U.K at The Pi Hut and Pimoroni and in the U.S. from Adafruit and Micro Center. Upton wrote that Raspberry Pi has built tens of thousands of units so far, and are building more, but expects demand to outpace supply for the time being. Ten thousand Raspberry Pis are also being given away with the December issue of The MagPi magazine in the U.K.