The Raspberry Foundation keep us well entertained as we guess what the next new product will be and, given that it’s only five years since the original Raspberry Pi was launched, they’d done an amazing job of keeping the product line relevant and up-to-date.
So what’s new today? On the Raspberry Pi’s fifth birthday they’ve launched the new Raspberry Pi Zero W which adds built-in wireless LAN and Bluetooth adapters.
The original Raspberry Pi caused controversy when it was attached as a cover-mounted freebie to a copy of Magpie and it sold out in hours; some folk were reported purchasing a shop’s whole order of the magazine and then selling them at inflated prices on the Internet. Regular purchasers of the magazine were not happy as their collection is now one magazine short of a full set.
Since then it’s been extremely difficult to get hold of the Raspberry Pi Zero and many retailers have limited sales to one per person in order to try and make the limited number available go around, and for good reason.
The diminutive Raspberry Pi Zero measures just 65 x 30mm and is a fully functional computer for just £4. It includes the same 40-pin GPIO interface as it’s bigger brothers, micro-SD card storage, a mini HDMI video output and a micro-USB socket for the addition of peripherals. The model was perfect for those tasks that demand the power of an original Raspberry Pi but in a footprint about a quarter of the surface area.
This new model has, unfortunately leapt in price by over 100%, to £9.60 (Pimoroni) but the addition of the Bluetooth adapter will mean that you can connect a keyboard and mouse without requiring a USB hub for the addition of the two peripherals. It will also mean that you can leave the Pi running and only attach the input devices when required.
The previous incarnation of the Raspberry Pi Zero added a camera connector, so this latest model now has more features than the original Raspberry Pi Model B for a third of the cost – this is real advancement. An added move sees the introduction of a zero-sized version of the official red and white case to make the computer look really neat and tidy.
Lets hope that supply problems don’t hamper the sales of this model as we can see it flying out of the door now that the Raspberry Pi Zero just grew up.