The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the availability of its Model A Raspberry Pis via global electronic suppliers RS Components and Premier Farnell/element 14. Europe gets the first chance to check out the low-cost computer, while the rest of the world will be able to do so as soon as limitations in distribution are revoked.
With the purpose of advocating in academic institutions the learning of basic computer science, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer that comes with a very affordable price and measures the size of a credit card. By hooking up into the TV and a keyboard, this tiny PC performs most of the common tasks that full-blown desktop computers are able to do: word-processing, spreadsheets, and games
Without Ethernet, a halved RAM at 256MBand only one USB port, the Model A is basically a lighter version of the Model B Raspberry Pi. The stripping down of components doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing though. For one thing, Model A is priced at $25, ten dollars cheaper than Model B.
Another advantage is that the former only requires one third of the power consumption of the latter. This efficiency is particularly useful for projects that largely depend on solar energy: robots and sensors in remote locations, Wi-Fi repeaters installed in local bus stops, etc. And as seen with the first version of Model B, setting up a media centre via XBMC works quite well even with just 256MB memory.
Due to some delayed paperwork that clears restrictions in distribution, anyone outside Europe who is interested in buying the Model A can still order but will have to wait before shipment can be processed.
More than 1 million Model B Raspberry Pis have already been sold as of January; it wouldn’t be a surprise if Model A sees similar success.