Raspberry Pi Foundation announces the best return gift

The Foundation celebrates its fifth birthday with a new Raspberry Pi board

The first Raspberry Pi device was released on February 29, 2012. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the credit card sized, single-board computer, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the perfect return gift: Raspberry Pi Zero W.

You guessed it right, the W in the name stands for "wireless." This is a new version of Raspberry Pi Zero that comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities at a mere $10.

A few days ago, I spent $12 to get a Bluetooth dongle for my Xbox One. Here I am getting a full fledged computer with wireless capabilities for less than what I paid for the dongle.

Boy, I can't wait to get my hands on Zero W.

But isn't Zero W underpowered for my needs? Zero W is powered by BCM2835, a single core processor that was used in the first Raspberry Pi. However, it has been overclocked to run at 1Ghz instead of 700Mhz. It has 512MB of RAM, a mini HDMI port, Micro USB port and Micro USB port for power. It has HAT-compatible 40-pin header, composite video and reset headers, CSI camera connector and the new 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.

Yes, on paper it's less powerful than Raspberry Pi 3. It doesn't have the 64 bit quad core CPU or 1GB of RAM. But the applications where I use Raspberry Pi don't need that much power.  I don't use Pi for media server, file server, home theatre system or as a desktop PC.

I use Pi with my Prusa MK2 3D printer to manage it remotely. I have built security camera systems using Pi. I use it for my light show. I am using it in a dozen of other such IoT projects; none require that much computing power.

With Zero W, I can get the computing power that I need for one-third the price and in a much smaller form factor.

The single factor that was keeping me from using Zero on all these projects was the lack of wireless capabilities. The smaller form factor of Zero W actually allows me to use Pi in things that I could not use earlier, such as a 3D printed remote car with some automation. So I am really excited about Zero W.

If you live in Europe, there are now more distributors to sell the Zero, here in the US, I placed my order with CananKit. Once I get my device I will be working on more projects based on Zero W, and will write about them here on this blog.

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