BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The Raspberry Pi Foundation has taken it to a whole new level in regard to low cost single board computers, announcing a surprising addition to its family of microprocessors. Say a warm welcome to Pi Zero, the computer that costs just $5 – or £4 in the U.K.
Or at least it should cost $5, if you shop at the various Pi resellers that offer it at this baseline price. International buyers in certain regions could still pay a premium, but the Foundation’s established price for the Pi Zero is just five bucks. Eben Upton, co-founder of Pi, hopes this marvel of technology will convince a few people it’s worth getting involved in computer programming.
So who is the target audience for Pi Zero? The first in line are manufacturers that build robotics projects and connected devices. But the matter of fact is that, at $5, the device pretty much sells itself to anyone interested in an impulse purchase. The Pi Zero is also part of a massive give-away on the cover of the Foundation’s MagPi magazine.
Upton told TechCrunch the tiny computer would be “particularly useful for people looking to do robotics or IoT projects — very small and low power, but able to drive a display and keyboard when you want to do debug.”
We are faced with the increased affordability of low cost computers just by looking at some of the other members of the Pi family; Orange Pi popped up this fall at a mere $15, rivaling its cousin, the Raspberry Pi, retailed for $20.
It’s mind-blowing that a fully-fledged computer can be sold for $5, a price that Upton suggests it currently represents the floor for a single board computer – at least for the foreseeable future. The computer is able to run the Scratch visual programming language and apps like Minecraft Pi.
Hardware and ports wise, the Pi Zero offers a 1Ghz core chip, 512MB of RAM, a mini-HDMI, a micro-SD card slot, and two micro-USB ports. What you don’t get is an on-board Wi-Fi – because the low costs can only cover for so much. However, a Wi-Fi dongle can easily be plugged in one of the micro-USB ports to get it connected.
Upton’s simple explanation for Pi Zero’s low price-tag is “a combination of economies of scale, continued reduction in component costs, and a fanatical attention to detail in the design.” According to designer Mike Stimson, nothing was added to the board if it couldn’t justify its existence.
Image Source: Raspberry Pi