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When I was growing up, computers had a few K of memory and made beeping noises when you turned them on. I raced Space Hoppers and Skateboards down our street, and watched Happy Days every Saturday night…
Sadly, those innocent days are long gone. Well, perhaps not… My kids have Space Hoppers that we race up and down the garden, I was given a retro “midlife crisis” skateboard for my birthday, and Raspberry Pi just released it’s cutest and lowest cost product yet.
When I first heard about the model A+, I caught myself saying “Ayyyyy” followed by a double thumbs up, just like The Fonz in Happy Days did during my childhood. At just $20, The Raspberry Pi Model A+ continues the journey to address the need to educate, inspire and make accessible the tools to create the software/hardware engineers and computer scientists of tomorrow. It’s also pretty cool for Makers!
So, let's take a closer look at the Raspberry Pi A+.
Above you can see Eben and I holding the 3 most recent Raspberry Pi’s. Eben has the A+ in his left hand. The A+ is effectively a smaller and more energy efficient version of the former model A. It uses the same Broadcom Arm processor and 256 MB memory as the Model A, but also boasts some cool enhancements taken from its big brother, the model B+
Smaller - Measures just 55mm x 65mm and weighing in at 23 grams. It’s 8 grams less than the original model A, and 19 grams less than a Model B+ that weighs in at 42 grams.
More GPIO - The same 40 way GPIO header as the B+ that’s compatible with the new HAT Standard. The GPIO and mounting holes on the A+ are in the same position as the B+, which adds compatibility for HATS.
Micro SD - Also takes the Micro SD Card slot from the B+
Lower Power - With just one USB port, no Ethernet and some enhanced electronics design around the switching regulators, the power consumption is 20-25% lower than the original model A, which was already impressively low!
Better Audio - A dedicated low noise circuit enhances the audio quality.
The new A+ form factor and features make it ideal for portable battery-powered applications. It’s also great for those who just need a more compact solution for integrating into a project or product without the need to design a pcb to embed a compute Pi.
So in summary, I give this an A+ for the classroom, a double thumbs up for Makers and a high 5 recommendation to anyone wishing to take advantage of the low power and compact form factor. And at just $20... no Christmas stocking should be without one.