In July, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the final evolution of the “high-end” version of its low-cost computer kit, the Model B+ — the next iteration will supposedly make a significant leap forward. However, while we wait for that, here’s some consolidation on the low end.
On Monday the Foundation put on sale the new/old Model A+ — old because it shares some specifications with the existing $25 Model A, and new because it’s smaller, less power-hungry and even cheaper.
The Model A+ costs only $20. While it uses the same BCM2835 application processor and 256MB of RAM as the Model A, it’s only 65mm long (the Model A measured 86mm in length.) It also includes some of the enhancements that arrived for the $35 Model B+ this year: A “push-push” microSD slot instead of friction-fit SD, a low-noise power supply in the audio circuit, and the new 40-pin GPIO header.
That last one is important, because it means the A+ can use the same “Hardware Attached on Top” (HAT) add-on boards that the B+ can use. This is intended to make life easier for users through auto-configuration and, while the makers of Raspberry Pi add-on boards don’t have to use the HAT specification, the advantages of doing so are clear. For the Foundation, greater consistency of experience would also make for a healthier ecosystem, so sticking this in the new version of the entry-level educational/tinkering kit is a no-brainer.
“When we announced Raspberry Pi back in 2011, the idea of producing an ‘[company]ARM[/company] GNU/Linux box for $25’ seemed ambitious, so it’s pretty mind-bending to be able to knock another $5 off the cost while continuing to build it here in the UK, at the same [company]Sony[/company] factory in South Wales we use to manufacture the Model B+,” Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton said in a blog post