The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new and cheaper version of its most powerful mini PC, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+. It's basically a cut down version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, and it's available now for $25, which is $10 cheaper than the B+ version.
What's neat about the newest version is that it incorporates many of the same features found on Raspberry Pi's flagship model. Notably, it has the same processor, a Broadcomm BCM2837B0 chip with an ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.4GHz, along with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It also features improved USB mass-storage booting and improved thermal management, Raspberry Pi Foundations says.
To get to that $25 price point, the newest iteration has 512MB of LPDDR2 RAM, which is half the amount found on its burlier sibling. It's also missing a LAN port, and there is only one USB port instead of four.
In addition to being cheaper, the reduction in features allowed Raspberry Pi to reduce the new model's footprint to 65 x 56 mm, the size of a HAT (hardware attached on top). The smaller size should enable some interesting projects.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ represents the end of the road for the classic Raspberry Pi, as the company stated in a blog post in no uncertain terms.
"In some ways this is rather a poignant product for us. Back in March, we explained that the 3+ platform is the final iteration of the 'classic' Raspberry Pi: whatever we do next will of necessity be less of an evolution, because it will need new core silicon, on a new process node, with new memory technology. So 3A+ is about closing things out in style, answering one of our most frequent customer requests, and clearing the decks so we can start to think seriously about what comes next," the company said.
If you're not familiar with the Raspberry Pi and other similar mini PCs, there is a world of possibilities that these inexpensive systems open up. We mentioned five projects way back in 2015, and more recently we showed how to build a wireless access point with one. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. RetroPie, for example, is a popular retro gaming platform for the Raspberry Pi. It's also possible to run certain older games on a Raspberry Pi without emulation.