Raspberry Pi is a Welsh company that has been at the heart of a drive to get more people coding and tinkering with computers through the use of affordable microcomputers, which typically cost less than $30. But, the company has taken the effort a step further by launching a computer that costs just $5.
The original Raspberry Pi was launched three years ago at $20 and several iterations since have seen the specs of the microcomputers, which are the size of a credit card, improved while the price has remained hugely accessible. The new version is even smaller -- the size of a stick of gum -- and while it is less powerful than the Raspberry Pi 2, it still offers sufficient hardware to run everything from Minecraft to visual programming tool Scratch.
"Since 2012, millions of people have used a Raspberry Pi to get their first experience of programming, but we still meet people for whom cost remains a barrier to entry," said Eben Upton, the creator of Raspberry Pi. "At the start of this year, we began work on an even cheaper Raspberry Pi to help these people take the plunge."
The Raspberry Pi initiative was developed to get more young children interested in coding and computers, but the latest device is seen as playing an important role in the development of Internet of Things devices and robotics, or as a standalone media player, Upton said.
So far, 7 million Raspberry Pi boards have been sold and while the initial aim was to get children coding, the project has found its real home among older hobbyists who want cheap computers they can tinker with and hack.
The Raspberry Pi Zero is powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 processor running a 1GHz, which is paired with 512MB of RAM. It also comes with a mircoSD slot for storage along with connectors for micro-USB and micro-HDMI that allow you to hook up a monitor and keyboard. The low cost of the computer has meant that it comes free with the latest edition of MagPi, the official magazine for Pi enthusiasts. The Raspberry Pi Zero can also be separately ordered online in the U.S. and the U.K. from Thursday.