Today, Raspberry Pi launches its new Raspberry Pi A+. Just like the model B was upgraded to B+, the model A now gets some love.
So what’s it like? Essentially, it’s like a model B+ with the USB and networking end cut off. When I was at Raspberry Pi HQ a couple of weeks ago, I was allowed (under strict NDA and embargo) to shoot some photos and video. Here’s what it looks like…
So What’s New & Different?
The first three are the main changes – size, weight and cost. The rest are pretty much the same as the changes from model B to model B+…
- Smaller board dimensions 66 x 56 x 14mm (model A = 92 x 64 x 18mm)
- Lighter weight 23g (model A = 31g)
- Lower price $20 + shipping and local taxes (model A $25 + s & t)
- 40 pin header
- 4 mount holes (HAT compatible)
- Improved power circuitry – switching regulators. This will give a small improvement vs the model A
- Composite and stereo audio on a single 4-pole 3.5mm connector
- Metal micro-SD card slot
- Connectors on only two sides
Let’s Have A Good Close Look At The A+
So What Hasn’t Changed?
It still has a single USB port, HDMI out, CSI, DSI, micro-USB power in and a BCM2835 SoC.
The A+, like the A before it, has 256 Mb RAM. I asked Eben if they’d considered bumping up the 256 Mb RAM to 512 Mb. He replied that it was a possible choice, but they preferred to be able to reduce the price to $20 instead.
I think it’s pretty darned impressive to be able to hit that price point. And it also ‘cocks a snook’ at the people who sneered at the original $25 price point (I remember some ‘vaporware’ accusations in the early days).
What About HATS?
You might have noticed that the A+ is exactly the same size as a HAT. That’s no accident. You’ll be able to make neat little systems out of an A+ and a HAT.
Why Would Anyone Want One?
- Cost – it’s only $20. If you need the cheapest fully functional Pi, this is the one for you.
- Size – it’s the smallest fully functional Pi available. The compute module is smaller, but the A+ has all the connectors on and needs no ‘mother-board’
- Weight – at just 23g, Dave Akerman and other high altitude balloonists will be all over this. For wearables, flyables or any other ‘ables’ where weight is a consideration, this is the lightest fully functional Pi available.
So if you need smaller, lighter or cheaper, the A+ is probably the Pi of choice for you.
If You’re A Collector
If you need a reason to buy an A+ immediately, or you’re a collector, the first 20,000 will be slightly more special. The first batch of boards have gold-plated pads, like previous Pis to date. But after those first 20k, the rest will not have gold pads. This helps to keep the cost down. Apart from the RUN header, there really aren’t any pads to solder to on the A+.
It’s Only $20
This is the big story really. A lot of people have guessed the form factor, shape, size and features of the A+ from the information gradually given out by Raspberry Pi and, in the last few days, leaked by distributors. Last week, someone even tweeted a photoshopped mock-up which made me double-take, before I realised it was ‘shopped.
This $20 price point drives down the cost of computing even more. It really is quite an exciting achievement.
I just bought 2 at Farnell for £37.22 delivered. So that’s £18.61 each. When they get here, I’ll do some testing.