Raspberry Pi’s new educational micro-computer is its cheapest yet — a pocket-sized device designed to teach kids coding for just $5 (about £3.30 or AU$7).
The Raspberry Pi Zero, unveiled on Thursday, is the latest computer from the British company that has for the last few years made its mission to make computing accessible to every child who wants to learn.
Made in Wales, the new computer features a 1GHz ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, a Mini-HDMI socket and Micro-USB sockets. It measures a petite 65 by 30 by 5mm.
Basic computers like those made by Raspberry Pi are seen as being the gateway to coding for children. This year the BBC has created its own educational computer, the MicroBit, with the input of Raspberry Pi and other partners, which it is giving away free to 11-year-olds across the UK. Coding has been on the national curriculum, which requires it to be taught in British schools, for a year now. It’s being widely supported by the tech industry, which sees coding education as an investment in its own future.
Introducing the Pi Zero in a video, the company’s chief executive and creator Eben Upton explained that when he was a youngster he had to drain his bank account to buy a BBC Micro and Commodore Amiga. Upton’s mission with the Raspberry Pi Zero is to ensure that children in 2015 do not face the same barriers to learning about computers that he did when he was young.
Even though the original Raspberry Pi was cheaper than equivalent computers by a factor of five, the price tag still posed a barrier to some people out there, Upton said. The newest Pi is now as cheap as a computer is likely to get — Upton won’t be looking to try and cut the price further.
“We’ve gone from the cost of four lattes to one latte. We’re not going to go below the cost of one latte,” he said. “We really hope this is going to get those last few people in the door and involved in computer programming.”
Raspberry Pi has made tens of thousands of the new Zeros, but expects demand to outstrip supply.
One way of ensuring you get your hands on a Pi Zero is to head to your local newsagent and pick up the December issue of the official Raspberry Pi magazine, MagPi. The issue will be the first ever magazine to bundle a computer as a free gift. “There’s only one thing cooler than a $5 computer and that’s a free computer,” said Upton.