Mobile Devices

February 04, 2013

Europe Gets New, Lower-Cost Slice of Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi computer, powered by Linux, has garnered its fair share of notice in recent days for its unusual style and low cost; however, the newest version, the Raspberry Pi Model A, will likely get even more notice than its predecessor for stripping out some features while offering power and further cost savings.

The new Raspberry Pi Model A, currently available in Europe, has 256 megabytes of RAM – which is just half the count brought in by the Model A's predecessor, the Model B – and has only one USB port with no Ethernet port to be had. But with some of the capability stripped down a bit, the overall system uses just one-third the power of its predecessor. This in turn is making it a distinct possibility as the driver for some unusual applications.

Since the Raspberry Pi is sufficiently powerful to stream 1080p video, its use as a media center is certainly not out of line. Since it can browse the Web or even write documents, it's also being considered as an embedded computing system or even sufficiently useful to be used in robotics.

While originally, the Raspberry Pi was supposed to be sufficiently inexpensive as to draw hobbyists and the youth market into the mix (ie. get more kids interested in math and science, etc.) the modder market has also taken to Raspberry Pi as a way to power some of their own projects. Indeed, in modders' hands, the Raspberry Pi has been part of home automation systems, disaster relief mechanisms and a host of other drones.

Since the Raspberry Pi Model A costs just $25 plus tax and shipping, it's a safe bet that this slightly toned-down version will be finding its way into more projects itself. The fact that there are also several recent releases to back it, up such as the Pi-Face Digital and the Gertboard that make it easier to work with overall, only improves such likelihood.

The more people that can get involved in developing products and inventing things, the better off as a society we all are. Look at the history of the United States, from the plow to the railroad and beyond, and it's easy to see a development that's done on the back of technology. These developments also eventually filtered out to the rest of the world as a whole.

Bottom line, the more advancement we can enjoy as a society is more likely to improve the lot of just about everyone, and that's a goal worth pursuing. Calling the Raspberry Pi part of that, in that light, isn't really out of line at all.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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