Raspberry Pi foundation launches $5 Pi Zero

... and you can thank Google chairman Eric Schmidt for the low price tag

Eben Upton, the founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation said in a blog post, “Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important. 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."

According to reports this unit would have cost between $50-$60, making it the most powerful and the most expensive Pi ever. But back in 2013 when Google chairman Eric Schmidt met Upton and inquired about their future plans he was not impressed with an expensive Pi. After the discussion, Upton reportedly scrapped plans for more expensive Pis and instead focused on inexpensive devices with more power. “The idea was to make a more powerful thing at the same price, and then make a cheaper thing with the same power,” Upton told The Wall Street Journal.

And now we have the most inexpensive Pi to date; generally Pis are sold between $20 and $35. This $5 Pi is not some underpowered device. It’s actually 40% faster than the first generation Pi. A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor beats at its heart with 512 MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM at it’s disposal. For connectivity it comes with a mini-HDMI socket, a microSD card slot for operating system, a micro-USB socket and 40-pin GPIO plus composite video header. All of this is at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm form factor.

Pi Zero runs Raspbian (and I am assuming other distros such as Arch will be able to run as well) and can run all your favorite applications available for the platform.

The device is available from The Pi Hut and Pimoroni in the UK, and from Adafruit and Micro Center in the US; the bad news is it’s already out of stock.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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