Budget-computer company Raspberry Pi has launched a crazily cheap and small new computer.
Pictured above, it’s called the Raspberry Pi Zero, and it costs just $5 (£3.30).
It boasts some pretty impressive specs, despite its price point. It comes with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and can output to a 1080p screen using HDMI at 60 frames a second. There is no onboard storage at all, but it comes with a Micro SD card slot so users can pick how much memory they think they need.
To put those figures into context, the iPhone 4 — which launched in 2010 — also had 512MB of RAM, and only had an 800MHz processor.
To actually use this thing, users will need to plug in their own screen, mouse, and keyboard, and by default it runs the operating system Raspbian — a version of Linux. With that done, it would operate much like any “normal” desktop computer.
Its size and cost also makes it an attractive candidate for building DIY “connected” objects. A user could buy a handful and rig them up to various sensors in order to turn their house into a “smart home.” Older versions of the Raspberry Pi have been used for exactly this purpose.
“We’ve gone from the cost of four lattes to the cost of one latte,” says Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton in a video introducing the device.
In fact, it’s so small, and so cheap, that the company is giving it away as a freebie in Magpi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine. “We’re the first computer magazine ever to give away a computer as a cover gift,” Upton claims.
The first Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012, and the company’s mission is to produce low-cost devices to introduce people to the world of computer science. Nominally aimed at kids, the budget computers have become beloved by hobbyists.
“Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important,” says a company blog post introducing the Pi Zero. “Even in the developed world, a programmable computer is a luxury item for a lot of people, and every extra dollar that we ask someone to spend decreases the chance that they’ll choose to get involved.”