The newest addition to the Raspberry Pi family seems to have been a success, as outlets selling the device have currently run out of stock, while copies of the official magazine carrying a free cover mount have almost entirely disappeared from shelves.
Raspberry Pi Trading and its partner Element 14 stunned the world last week when they announced the Raspberry Pi Zero, a new version of the Raspberry Pi single board computer at a quoted price point of just $5. It was also being given away with the December issue of official Raspberry Pi magazine The MagPi.
It seems that demand has been so high for the miniature computer that more than 80 percent of copies of The MagPi had disappeared from newsagents within a day of the announcement.
However, according to the Raspberry Pi blog, fresh copies of The MagPi will be "going back to the stores at the start of next week" (week beginning 30 Nov), while the retail outlets are also to receive new stock as soon as possible.
The Raspberry Pi Zero is styled as is the smallest form factor Raspberry Pi on the market today, at just 65mm long by 30mm wide. It is based on the same Broadcom BCM2835 chip as the original Raspberry Pi, but clocked at a higher 1GHz speed and 512MB memory.
However, in order to get the size down to these compact dimensions, the Raspberry Pi Zero board has been fitted with miniature connectors to save on space, and the 40-pin general-purpose I/O header is unpopulated (the connector is not fitted to the board as supplied), as is the composite video output for connecting to a TV.
For this reason, the Raspberry Pi Zero is currently bundled with adapters (pictured) for its Mini HDMI and Micro USB ports and priced from about £11, and additionally with an 8GB MicroSD card pre-loaded with the NOOBS starter software from about £13.
A spokesperson for Element 14 declined to confirm or deny whether there were any plans to offer a standalone Raspberry Pi Zero board at an even lower purchase price.
Eben Upton, chief executive of Raspberry Pi Trading, said on the Raspberry Pi blog that driving down the cost of computer hardware remained one of the most important goals for the Raspberry Pi community.
"The original Raspberry Pi Model B and its successors put a programmable computer within reach of anyone with $20-$35 to spend. 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. At the start of this year, we began work on an even cheaper Raspberry Pi to help these people take the plunge," he wrote.
Element 14 said it expected that the new model will appeal to hobbyists and makers as well as industrial engineers looking to create solutions where small size and low power consumption are vital, such as robots, drones for capturing video or to connect to add-ons for motor control.
While the Raspberry Pi Zero is styled as the smallest Pi available, it is only fractionally smaller than the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, but the latter is designed to mount into a socket in a larger piece of hardware and lacks the standard connectors.
Raspberry Pi Trading launched the Raspberry Pi 2 earlier this year with a more powerful quad-core 900MHz processor and 1GB of memory, delivering six times the performance of previous models.
Last month, Element 14 announced the Raspberry Pi Customisation Service, offering to manufacture turnkey hardware designs based on the popular Raspberry Pi single board computer.
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