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Raspberry Pi's $25 Model A Hits Production Line 105

Posted by timothy
from the house-automation-brain-perhaps dept.
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced that the cheaper variant of the Raspberry Pi — the Model A — has entered production phase. Model A of the credit-card sized computer has been stripped of its Ethernet port and a USB port, leaving just one USB port. This model comes with 256MB RAM, but as it is less complex compared to its predecessor it will consume less power, thus opening up quite a few new usage scenarios. The Foundation has posted the first image of the $25 Model A on its site and noted 'We're anticipating that those of you who buy the Model A will be using it for different applications from Model B owners.'"
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Raspberry Pi's $25 Model A Hits Production Line

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  • I thought the model A and B came out at the same time? Did the B come out first for the enthusiasts to fund the reduced model. (I know the stated goal of the A is for education) whereas the goal for the B would presumably be for hackers. That being said I am actually borrowing a friends RPi to see about it's use as a serial console and I am not disappointed.

    • Re:Refresher (Score:5, Insightful)

      by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash.p10link@net> on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:54PM (#42151557) Homepage

      The plan was for the B to be released first as the intial release was aimed at early adoptors and developers, the model A would then follow soon afterwards.

      However that was back when they throught demand for the Pi would be in the tens of thousands. With the manufacturing partners scrambling to meet demand (and being frustrated by SoC lead times) they did not want to divert SoCs away from model B production to model A production.

      Now that the situation is starting to improve and stabalise they are finally bringing up the model A production (though how long it will be before they are readilly available is anyones guess).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The plan was for the B to be released first as the intial release was aimed at early adoptors and developers

        No, that was a ret-con to save face after the initial problems with the B-model.

        Visit their site and try to find any official pages that say it's for developers. It's a mantra that is chanted on the fora but has no basis in fact.

        The very first answer in their FAQ says:

        "It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does".

        Nothing there about being experimental or developmental.

  • Too little too late? (Score:4, Informative)

    by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:43PM (#42151503)

    I'm wondering if the model A will really have much of a market.

    The end of the market that the A might have been useful in may well have been overtaken by the top-end of the M-series ARM processors, especially with companies like STM now pitching boards like the Discovery STM32F4 [st.com] for $20 or so.

    Yes, it's got less RAM, less MIPS and so forth -- but it *is* 100% open and incredibly capable for what it is.

    • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:25PM (#42151755) Homepage

      It also lacks HDMI.... Nobody really cares about how open this board is except for the few loudmouths on this site. The fact that the boards sell out so quick is proof.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The fact that it sells so well is proof that lots of people don't care so much that they'll boycott the product.

        It is not proof that only a few loudmouths on this site are the ones who care, and no one else.

        Two entirely different sets, and not mutually exclusive.

    • by c++0xFF (1758032) on Friday November 30, 2012 @11:30PM (#42152117)

      Completely different markets. The RP is NOT a microcontroller. It is not an Arduino. It is a full ARM computer (albeit a slow one compared to what you have on your desk). It's as if you ripped out the motherboard from your phone or tablet and made it more hacker friendly.

      Where you have some overlap is the RP gives pinouts for connecting some hardware, but the way you talk to that hardware is completely different.

      And when you talk about the RP having more RAM, I should put that into perspective. The Discovery board has 192kB. The RP has 256MB. These aren't even close to being the same class of device, much less the same market. Read the article ... can you see the one you linked to bring used as a media center? Of course not, it's an absurd idea.

      There's plenty of market for the model A. If anything, the model B had taken up a lot of that market (only ten bucks more and you get Ethernet, one more USB, and more RAM).

      Openness really doesn't matter to the RP's target market. If you're working on a microcontroller, your goal is to eventually move beyond the prototype stage and make a product. Openness matters in that case. But the RP isn't a prototype board (though it could be used as one). Instead, it's the product, already finished for you (just add a case and power supply). Openness matters a bit when it comes to drivers and access to SPI and whatnot, but the documentation for that is available, and I've yet to hear any complaints.

    • by imp (7585)

      Also lacks an MMU... These chips have been available for quite a while, as have designs based on them...

      • by fnj (64210)

        Exactly. Chips with no MMU (Cortex-M4 et al) cannot run real linux because an MMU is a fundamental requirement for real linux (or any other serious operating system). Otherwise, Cortex-M4 is ARMv7 just like Cortex-A8.

        OTOH, Freescale i.MX233 is only ARMv5 and is VERY lightweight, but does have an MMU. As a result you can run real linux on it [olimex.com].

        In the above I use the expression "real linux". There is also a bastardized linux called uClinux [uclinux.org] which can run without an MMU. Of necessity, there can be no memory prote

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      I'm wondering if the model A will really have much of a market.

      The irony would be that the "Model A" and "Model B" naming was a homage to the BBC Micro [wikipedia.org], which originally came out in Model A and Model B versions. The more powerful "BBC B" (32KB instead of 16KB and more ports) turned out to be far more popular- it overshadowed the cheaper Model A and became the "canonical" version to the extent that most games and software required the BBC B and didn't bother with versions that would run on the Model A.

      History repeating itself?

  • Cool but SLOOOOOOW (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRealQuestor (1750940) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:05PM (#42151619)
    I got my model b last week and it's been pretty fun so far. But one thing that kinda sucks about it is its speed. Even overclocked to 1Ghz it's pretty painful to do anything on. Not to mention it wasn't 35 dollars to get it up and running. I wrote this a few days ago for another site but it is pretty relevant here too.

    .

    How a $35 computer cost me $90 bucks..

    So a long time ago I signed up to order one of these cool little Raspberry PI $35 dollar card sized computers. After a month or 2 I finally was able to order it. After a .
    week or two I finally was able to hold it. After a day or two I finally was able to actually use it..

    I’ll explain. It’s JUST the little pc, nothing else.

    SO I had to buy the following:
    1x 1k 5v USB wall wart. $20 bucks.
    1x 16 Gig Class 10 SD Card $20 bucks.
    1x Micro USB to USB Cable $10 bucks.

    Factor in the cost of the PC with shipping $43.79 + $20 + $20 + $10 and now that $35 dollar computer is actually almost $94 bucks..

    That said, it’s actually kinda cool. Not as powerful as one might like but cool none the less..
    As a test I set it up running the debian installer [this took about 6 hours], setup to compile XBMC [this took about 2.5 hours] and went about compiling it..
    On my main rig the compile takes all of about 8 minutes [after a make clean], on the RPI it took over 12 hours. 12 HOURS to do what my main rig can do in 8 minutes!.

    Now I understand it's "only" a 35 dollar PC so one cannot expect a whole lot out of it, but in reality it's NOT a 35 dollar pc. It's a 90 dollar phone guts without the phone parts.

    • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:19PM (#42151707)

      Hey, I picked up a microUSB 5V wall-wart supply for $9.99 at the local equivalent of Walmart and just used an old Class 4 SD card I had laying about so my $94 Raspberry Pi only cost me $44.99.

      Actually I lie -- I had to buy an HDMI cable and I can't find a spare ethernet cable either so I'll have to fork out some more cash.

      But come to think of it -- neither my DVD player nor my TV came with an HDMI and my PC didn't come with a network cable so I guess that no matter what you buy, there are always "essential extras" to factor in.

      And my Pi didn't come with a mouse or keyboard either -- what's with that?? :D

      • by amorsen (7485)

        Hey, I picked up a microUSB 5V wall-wart supply for $9.99 at the local equivalent of Walmart

        Yes, and it happened to work for you. You risk having to go through multiple different brands because a) USB wall-warts are generally crappy and lie about their specifications and b) the Pi power design is not very forgiving. Incidentally, the first hardware revisions were not just unforgiving but quite broken, but they were not pulled from the market and no replacements were offered.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I have found Blackberry ones are good to go for if you can find them. Same kind of quality as the Apple ones but obviously much much cheaper.

      • by johnw (3725) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:47AM (#42153869)

        I can't find a spare ethernet cable

        The rest of it rings true, but this is just too far fetched. Ethernet cables are like wire coat hangers - they breed. I try to keep them confined to my study/shed, but they have to be purged regularly to stop them taking over the house.

        • by lucm (889690)

          I can't find a spare ethernet cable

          The rest of it rings true, but this is just too far fetched. Ethernet cables are like wire coat hangers - they breed. I try to keep them confined to my study/shed, but they have to be purged regularly to stop them taking over the house.

          That's why wireless cables are so convenient, they take less space. Also even if the 802.11n jacks are more expensive than RJ45s at least they are not just the right size to allow someone to plug in a USB cable by mistake.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        they sell HDMI cables at my local dollar store for $2. They aren't the greatest quality but the work fine. 16 FBI SD card was only $10. I had 3 or 4 USB chargers lying around from old devices. even so you can get the power supply for $3 from Dx.com and the cable for $2. sure you could spend 45$ on all the extras butyou can easily get them for 20$. However you could also get one of those android TV sticks for $90 with all the accesories. so if you aren't going to use the GPIO pins you might be better off get
    • It all depends on where you shop.
      I can get a usb box for $8, discount SD card $5(just 1Gig - but enough to run what I'm running), usb cable $4 - and all this from one store right beside where I work.
      But most of these I have lying around in boxes I haven't looked into for at least a year or so.

      Or I could buy a $449.99 128Gig SD card and quintuple the price of my rig.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's funny. When I repeatedly pointed this fact out on slashdot, without fail, it was moderated down. Slashdot has some serious hatred for truth when it comes to the Pi. The Pi is going to cost you ~$75-$100 to get up and running. For the money, you can get superior hardware. The catch is getting software to drive that hardware. For now, because of software complications, the Pi remains attractive. But that time is quickly coming to an end. Soon you'll have much faster hardware much more memory (1-2G), bu

      • That's funny. When I repeatedly pointed this fact out on slashdot, without fail, it was moderated down. Slashdot has some serious hatred for truth when it comes to the Pi. The Pi is going to cost you ~$75-$100 to get up and running. For the money, you can get superior hardware. The catch is getting software to drive that hardware. For now, because of software complications, the Pi remains attractive. But that time is quickly coming to an end. Soon you'll have much faster hardware much more memory (1-2G), built in SATA (with port), HDMI, actual ethernet (vs ethernet on USB), WIFI, a case, power supply, and in many cases, an IR remote, with well supported software, for roughly $55-$75; delivered. Meaning more and faster hardware for less. Hell, some of the newer hardware even comes with gpio, SPI, and I2C.

        I expect within another couple of months, there will be far superior solutions for less money available. Until such time, the Pi will likely remain attractive. Having said that, I've never really understood which segment the A-model will address.

        yah this is the 1st post I have ever been modded down for. Lol kind of funny. I wasn't really even bashing it, just stating some facts. Yes there are "cheaper" parts I could have bought, such as a cheaper, less powerful wall wart. A cheaper and slower sdcard. A cheaper and shorter usb cable. But I wanted to give my little RPI the best I could. I did say it was cool a number of times in the post, but people see one negative word about the PI and it's downmod central. Sheesh

      • by VVrath (542962)

        There seems to be a huge difference in the amount people are spending on supporting peripherals for the Raspberry Pi. I just bought a set of twenty for my classroom (breakdown below) and ended up spending GBP855 in total - around GBP43 each. TBH I could have trimmed this down further, as the USB Hubs and multiple sets of HDMI-DVI adaptors are to make it easier for pupils to switch between the Windows PC on their desk and the Raspberry Pi; they only have to swap two cables instead of three, and HDMI connecto

    • by krelvin (771644)

      you over paid for a lot of the stuff... $5 for 1.8A 5v MicroUSB PSU (includes cable), $6 16GB Class 4 MicroSDHC card with Sdcard adapter.... free shipping on both.... I use a WiFi USB Dongle ($12) no keyboard, no mouse headless... great little device. Have 3 of them.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      You well overpaid for everything. Even Amazon has this stuff for cheaper.

      5V USB wall-wart: $4 + free shipping
      USB cable: $2 + free shipping
      16GB SD Card: $12 + free shipping
      Case for Raspberry Pi: $10

      Total: $63

      And that's simply for prototyping. If you buy the necessary items in bulk you can get the add-ons down to $10.

      • You forgot the 3x shipping which would be about $300 to my part of the world.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          Where in the world can you get your hands on a Pi but not cheap USB wall warts, USB cables and SD cards?

    • Iâ(TM)ll explain. Itâ(TM)s JUST the little pc, nothing else.

      SO I had to buy the following:
      1x 1k 5v USB wall wart. $20 bucks.
      1x 16 Gig Class 10 SD Card $20 bucks.
      1x Micro USB to USB Cable $10 bucks.

      So, it's actually not a PC. It's a circuit board with some chips and connectors. I think that has always been abundantly clear.

      Look at it a different way: If you want to use this as if it were a PC, you are going to have to add some stuff to it. Same, in a way, with PCs still requiring a monitor and keyboard in addition to just the box where most of the magic happens. On the other hand, if you don't want all that, you don't have to pay for it. The Raspberry Pi is a component, and you can use it to build som

    • by dissy (172727)

      So let me get this straight. You expect them to include all these useless extras we already own simply to push the price up for the rest of us?

      When you went to the store and bought your computer, did you go back the next day to stand in the return line and bitch at the poor guy at the counter because that computer didn't come with an LCD, keyboard, mouse, etc?

      Do you purchase a car and return it the next day because you need to purchase gas and oil and have regular maintenance done?

      Do you sue your landlord

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      Quick check on ebay, you paid far too much

      Micro USB to USB Cable $1.6
      16GB class 10 SD-CARD $14.25
      USB Charger $3.2

      Total $19.05 - that's a lot less than $50

      So, a $54.05 PC, sounds much better than a $90 PC

      (UK prices inc p+p converted to dollars, normally we pay higher prices for anything electrical, costs including VAT(sales tax) at 20%)

    • Monster Cable can make it even more expensive than that, but you're making it hard for them if you're not buying a $15 Ethernet cable for your Pi as well. All the kit you describe can be had, including an Ethernet Cable for less than $20, if you're happy to take just a 4G or 2G SD card. That will be plenty if you are networking it up or using local storage via USB.
    • by M1FCJ (586251)

      I don't know where you shop for hardware but I'd love to be your supplier. The numbers you're quoting are pure fiction.

    • by jeremyp (130771)

      1x 1k 5v USB wall wart. $20 bucks.

      You should have bought a powered USB hub. That way your peripherals aren't reliant on the Pi's power supply, which is iffy (you power the Pi itself off one of its ports).

    • by Wolfrider (856)

      --I feel yer pain, man. I really wanted a Pi back in November of 2011; after the delayed-shipping debacle, I said the heck with it.

      --Finally ordered one of these for $59, after finding out about it due to a Slashdot comment:

      http://www.indiegogo.com/cubieboard [indiegogo.com]

      --It has a SATA port, 1GB RAM, and comes with a 4GB Nand Flash ++ power cable included. Haven't received it yet, but so far the only accessory I've bought for it is an HDMI -> DVI video cable adapter for ~$8.

      --I'm gonna put Squid + SSD drive on it

  • I love my Pi, it's nice and small
    And on that little circuit board is all
    You need to learn to code as fun
    For fun and joy are needed
    To get the learning process done.
    • by John Allsup (987)
      Guilt and regret for not playing with my Pi for a few days. He or She (She is probably more correct) is called Dorothy. The name traces its lineage through an unbroken chain of components, each dorothy having some in common with the last, to my first purpose built Linux computer.
      • by M1FCJ (586251)

        Now I feel boring for naming my Pis Pi-A, Pi-B and Pi-C... Better vi /etc/hostname right now...

  • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Friday November 30, 2012 @10:32PM (#42151811)

    Tinkering and coming up with cool (if impractical) uses... and quite frankly, that's what computing has lost over the years... Doing strange crap with the user port of your C-64 was damn fun, IMNSHO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5npkz0xY1fo [youtube.com]

    Thanks to the Pi for bringing that tinkering fun back....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What a load of crap. Shitty hardware for it's own sake is retarded. The C-64 was fun at the time because it was cutting edge and empowering. The Raspberry Pi is neither. Want to use GPIO? Got to buy a "Gertboard"(Who the fuck is coming up with these shitty names?)! No peripheals worth a damn(GPS, IMU, pressure transducer, or microphone).

      If you want to reconstruct that bygone era, give me several USB 3.0 ports, ethernet, wifi adapter, decent GPIO pinout, HDMI/VGA, and a good 16bit 192khz soundcard DAC/ADC. P

      • by tbird81 (946205)

        Well don't buy it! And you explain the 1 dislike on his YouTube clip!

        I thought his mini arcade thing was awesome!

  • The first Pi had chipsets that were known for years to be full of bugs and problematic. Then they went with proprietary blobs that free distros couldn't distribute and weren't open source.

    Is this more of the same? When will we get a Pi that isn't buggy as hell? Eat your vegetables before you have dessert, guys.

  • and you might get it by summer.!

  • From the blog:

    we’ve not been able to build them, because to do so would mean that we have to cannibalise Model B parts – and that would mean that people who are experiencing the backlog would have to wait even longer

    Of course, you would not want to let people wait a few weeks for a Model B. People who have been waiting for months for a Model A on the other hand... I said it before elsewhere, and I repeat it here: just raise the price of Model A to bring its profit margin on par with Model B, and let the market decide what it wants! The reasoning that $25 was crucial to reach education is not even used to justify Model A anymore. Now it's for robotics, automation and media centers.

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi. c o m> on Saturday December 01, 2012 @03:39AM (#42153085) Homepage

    Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?

    Sorry.

  • So the Model B was used by people to enable them to say they owned a Raspberry Pi.
    What will the Model A be used for?

    • Does the new model A have the same USB trouble as the model B's. This problem with the unstable USB has affected both the keyboard and the USB attached network adapter. If they haven't fixed this problem, why are they ramping up Model A production?

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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