After 2.5 million sales of its revolutionary credit card sized computer, the Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) has just announced a new version of its model B board with extra power and capabilities, but at the same ridiculously low price.
The Raspberry Pi B+ has the same ARM processor as its predecessor and the same small 512MB memory on board, but now includes two extra USB ports, a MicroSD slot, more pins for attaching peripherals and a better audio circuit. The RPI reckons its also reduced power consumption.
It keeps the HDMI out and audio jack of the Model B too, and is still powered over micro-USB.
Since the Pi launched two years ago there’s been a lot of imitations around, but none which have quite managed to capture the imagination of the hacking community in the same way. From media centres to time lapse camera dollies, 3D printers and networked toilets: people are proud to have their projects powered by Pi. Together with the open hardware controller board Arduino, it’s become synonymous with the maker movement.
And yet, despite its ridiculously low cost – $35 for a full computer (without keyboard and display, obviously) – the Pi hasn’t made much of an impact in South Africa. Local retailer RS Components has the rights to sell the boards here, for which it charges a slight premium at R446, but general manager Brian Andrew says that there’s not been as much interest as he hoped for.
“We still hope to get going with the Raspberry Pi,” Andrew says, “It’s a huge opportunity, especially in the area for which it was originally designed – education. We can make computers available, and we’re passionate about the Pi in education.”
While Andrew obviously has a vested interest in getting more schools using Pis, if they aren’t being widely used yet it does seem like a missed opportunity. That may change, though: RS Components already has the new Model B+ listed at
the frankly bargainous price of R364 R446.86.