As tipped in October, a new Raspberry Pi Model A board just landed—and it's cheaper and much smaller than its predecessor. On Monday, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton introduced the Model A+. It knocks $5 off the price and drops close to an inch of physical length compared to the regular A board.
Available now, the new Model A+ costs $20, has 256MB RAM, and features the same BCM2835 processor as every other Raspberry Pi board. The A+ also inherits some of the features we saw on the Model B+ introduced in July. Like the B+, the A+ has 40 GPIO pins (up from 26), a new audio circuit with its own low-noise power supply, and a microSD slot with a push-push feel.
But to get that low price of $20 you do have to sacrifice a few things. Just like the Model A, the A+ does not come with an ethernet jack, and it has only one USB port. It does come with HDMI out, and it has the same display and camera hook-ups as the other boards. The A+ measures about 2.56 inches long, making it the most compact Raspberry Pi yet. The Model A, by comparison, measured 3.39 inches in length.
The story behind the story: With the Model A+, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is looking to stir more interest in a super low-priced board. In October, Upton told a crowd at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe that the Model A barely cracked 100,000 unit sales, while the B and B+ already surpassed 4 million. With an even cheaper board and a few B+-style upgrades, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is hoping to encourage even more interest in a basic computing device.
Why would you want one?
If you're hoping to use a Raspberry Pi as a quick-and-dirty entertainment center, or a miniPC with a bunch of USB ports, then the B+ is probably your better option. But for anyone who wants to use their Raspberry Pi in a hardware project where space is at a premium, the A+ is worth considering.
The Model A+ is just the first of two big announcements we expect to see from the world of Raspberry Pi in the coming months. Also due out is a 7-inch WVGA touch display accessory specifically designed for Raspberry Pi boards.