Don’t treat any of your friends to lunch today. You could use that $25 to buy the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+.
This morning the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the newest and final iteration of the “classic” Raspberry Pi family. The new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, 1.4GHz clock speed, and an itty-bitty form factor. It’s basically a miniature version of the celebrated Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. Like the B+, the new A+ is powered by a microUSB cable, and supports 1080p video output from its HDMI port. It uses less power than larger Pi boards and is certified as a “radio module” by the FCC, which is great for Internet of Things products that use the Raspberry Pi because it reduces the cost of performance testing.
Fans of the original Model A+ have been asking for an upgrade for years. The original A+ sported a wimpy 256MB of RAM (the new A+ has twice as much RAM), and you could only transfer data by its single USB port—it didn’t have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. While the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero has held hobbyists’ attention for the last few years, it also lacks Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which can severely limit the use of such a small board.
Of course, you can’t expect the new A+ to replace your desktop computer. The A+ only has 512MB of RAM, which is only half of what the Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ packs. It doesn’t have an Ethernet port, and it only has one USB input. But for $25, this much-requested product will certainly find a lot of use in education, DIY projects, and the Internet of Things.
The new A+ is a good, cheap product with a lot of practical applications, but there isn’t anything revolutionary about it. That’s why the Raspberry Pi Foundations has announced that the A+ is the final iteration of the “classic” Raspberry Pi family. They plan to take advantage of new hardware and memory technology to “evolve” their products. Hopefully, we’ll see a new, revolutionary Raspberry Pi board in the next few years. In the meantime, we should celebrate the inexpensive, reliable hardware that the Raspberry Pi Foundation is known for.