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Not too long ago the Raspberry Pi B+ was released to an unsuspecting community, now the little brother the A+ has been announced. This is a smaller and cheaper alternative to the B+ or even the original A Pi. The board is nearly identical to the B+ with the exception of a few milimeters which have been removed because of the network controller being removed, and of course the network port. The USB controller is also inside the Broadcom processor which means we have 1 USB to save on cost. The price of the unit is about $20 depending on where you live.

When we announced the Model B+ back in July, we said that we’d also be producing a lower-cost variant, analogous to the original Model A. Since then, James has been beavering away, and today we’re pleased to announce the release of the Raspberry Pi Model A+ at a new low price of $20.

Hardware

The hardware is similar to the B+ and even the older generation Pis. The machine has the same 256mb of ram that you can expect from the old model A and still has only 1 USB. The upgraded form factor has increased the GPIO pins to 40 like the B+ and the SD card slot is now a micro SD slot.

Like the Model A, the Model A+ uses the BCM2835 application processor and has 256MB RAM, but it is significantly smaller (65mm in length, versus 86mm for the Model A), consumes less power, and inherits the many improvements that we made to the Model B+, including:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins. The Model A+ is compatible with the HAT standard for add-on boards.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.

Product Information

SBC, RASPBERRY PI, MODEL A+, 256MB

Silicon Manufacturer: Broadcom
Core Architecture: ARM
Core Sub-Architecture: ARM11
Silicon Core Number: BCM2835
Silicon Family Name: BCM2xxx
No. of Bits: 32bit
CPU: 700MHz Dual Core, VideoCore IV Multimedia Co-processor
Outputs: 1 x HDMI & 1 x USB Port

A

Software

Since this is a Pi we are talking about you can already expect what the software is going to be like. You have the official Raspbian images and of course a wide selection of Linux flavours. You unfortunately will not be running Android on this device as there is only one project right now and it currently is not in a very usable state. The Banana Pi which I recently reviewed does have Android support though.

The device can run anything you really try to run in regard to Linux as long as it can run on an ARM processor.

Uses

Most people immediately assume that because the specs are not quite as good as the B+ that this is not the machine for you. However there are several uses that immediately make you consider this machine over the more expensive versions depending on your project. I am currently running the older A version to control my Bitcoin hardware. I am using it as the machine that runs the mining hardware. This newer version A could take it’s place easily and chug along happily fulfilling my needs. Several other ideas may include:

  1. Small remote sensor relay
  2. Home automation node
  3. Arduino Uno replacement

You can also not ignore the fact that since the machine is so small it is perfect for robotics where weight is important and this tiny computer could make a mighty fine robot brain. The device is also incredibly cheap making it a very attractive computer for emerging markets where they do not have the same budgets to buy the hardware.

Final Thoughts

I currently use a model A 24 hours a day. This device is something that does have a lot of uses despite it having a very nice older brother. I have used lots of different single board computers and this one is no different in terms of quality that you would expect from a Raspberry Pi. Congratulations to the Raspberry Pi foundation for making such a cheap and attractive small computer.

Source: Raspberry Pi blog