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Raspberry Pi Model A Makes First Appearance 101

An anonymous reader writes "It's easy to forget that the Raspberry Pi currently shipping is the more expensive model of the board. It is actually called the Model B as it sports more features than the $25 Model A. The main differences [compared to the B model] include a lack of an Ethernet port and the associated networking chip, as well as the presence of only one USB port instead of two. There was originally going to be less memory on the Model A (128MB instead of 256MB), but the Raspberry Pi Foundation managed to make enough cost savings during a redesign to increase the amount to 256MB on the cheaper version. With all the focus being on the Model B, we haven't actually seen the (near) final Model A board yet. But that changes today, as Eben Upton has just shown off the $25 board."
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Raspberry Pi Model A Makes First Appearance

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  • Interesting. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @06:59PM (#40570765)

    So - no CSI/DSI - for which there are no drivers anyway.
    No ethernet port.
    I do wonder what that white blob in place of the ethernet/USB hub chip is.
    Is it simply a bit of tape, to cover some wires linking the USB directly to the SoC, or something else.

    As to why this is an interesting bit of hardware - it's not.
    It's interesting because it's a relatively open platform, at a reasonable price point.

    Devices I want a model A for.
    Wifi weather-station controller.
    Heating controller.
    Door camera system.

  • by muon-catalyzed ( 2483394 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @07:05PM (#40570831)
    How does that Broadcom SoC compare to the current Shenzen's SoC king the disruptive $7 Allwinner-A10 [] SoC?

    Bonus: comes with open source GPU driver, unlike RasPi.
  • by drunkahol ( 143049 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @07:24PM (#40571045)

    Loving my Model B Pi, but can't help thinking that there's a niche wanting filled for systems that can actually function as a near normal desktop. Something with more grunt, more RAM etc. My phone is a quad core ARM CPU, why not a system a little larger than the Pi for the older audience who remember the Model B, Master & Archimedes the first time round. We have the cashflow and desire to use.
    (just don't make an Electron version - even if it has Plus 1 and Plus 3 expansion modules like I had back in the day!)


  • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @07:48PM (#40571249) Homepage

    Some other people doing low-cost A10/A13 board stuff:
    Olimex [] are developing an A13-based board currently.

    Gooseberry [] is an A10-based board sourced from a tablet designer.

  • Re:POS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zaiff Urgulbunger ( 591514 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @08:19PM (#40571541)

    $10 for ethernet and a second USB port is a smaller premium(and, of course, better integrated) than pretty much any peripheral option, and some sort of networking is an extremely convenient feature. The 'A' seems like a very niche sort of device.

    I think most nerds will want the model-B, but note that if you stick a WiFi dongle in the single USB port of a model-A, you do still have a fully network accessible device... but likely it'll be easier to do development for that using a model-B. The main "wins" for the model-A are (1). it costs less, and (2). I believe power consumption is quite a bit lower.... I seem to recall seeing a video where Eben indicated that the networking/usb-hub chip uses quite a lot of power on the model-B.

  • Re:POS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Friday July 06, 2012 @11:20PM (#40572933) Homepage

    I'm using the RPi to drive a prototype device that I'm building. Currently it's just driving two real-time stepper motors (or close to real time), and doing a great job of it. For our production device though, we don't need Ethernet, and only want/need one USB - so the $10 savings and lower power consumption is perfect.

    As for why we'd use an off-the-shelf board? Why not - it does everything we need, runs an off-the-shelf operating system, and is easy to program/update/use.

    Why re-invent the wheel when we have areas where we can get a lot more value out of our time. As you seem to support - it's a great board!


In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982