back to article What the world needs now is Pi, sweet $5 Raspberry Pi Zero

Our American cousins may be getting stuck in to pumpkin pie today, but Raspberry Pi hopes they'll also appreciate its $5 (£4) Pi Zero computer, which the Blighty outfit launched today. In a video showing off the teeny-tiny 'puter, Raspberry Pi boss Eben Upton spoke about how the high cost of machines, such as the Commodore …

Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Overpriced

Actually it's nearer to three quid.

Or if you're using Mercan conversion logic, five quid.

3
3
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

I think there were some available on online stores for £4 odd (remember VAT) but sold out quickly.

There are some still there for £11 ish, these include a cables and connectors bundle.

Got mine from WHSmith for £5.99, stuck to the front of a magazine.

The article seems to be missing the fact that the new Pi Zero is free with The MagPi magazine issue 40, out today.

28
0

Re: Overpriced

That does seem a rather obvious omission.

Add that to the two USB mistake (It's actually one USB port one USB power input), makes me think that not only is the article late to market, but not particularly well researched. I guess launching the PI2 story earlier this year before embargo was lifted means El Reg are no longer on the Pi mailing list.

13
0

Re: Overpriced

£4 includes VAT the $5 won't include sales tax which would be added at the checkout for US customers so the price in this case isn't so different. Anyway just ordered mine from Pihut for £4.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

Plus you have to add the cost of SD card, PSU, keyboard, mouse, USB hub, cables and cable adapters and most likely a WiFi module before you have anything really useful. So that's probably nearer £40 than £4, but still an impressive achievement for what it is. At least those doubters who said there never would be a sub-$10 full-blown Linux PC any time soon have been proven wrong.

Given that cost savings seem to have come from trimming off things which the Pi B+ has, if needing to add them back to get where one wants to be, it may make sense to just buy a B+.

It could be an Arduino killer if it wasn't for the half a minute boot-up time and the risk of corrupting the SD card if the power supply is pulled without a proper shutdown.

4
26
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

Once you add the cost of WiFi or Ethernet it is not any different from B or B+ as cost. That is also likely to necessitate a USB hub as these will eat a significant chunk of the already measly Pi USB power budget.

Let's face it - a compute with _NO_ network connectivity is rather useless in this day and age.

7
24
Anonymous Coward

Re: Overpriced

Which tech inclines person hasn't built up a collection of keyboards, mice, usb hubs and sd cards. The PSU is just a phone charger. Even if you haven't almost all of these things are available at PoundEmpire for ... £1, apart from the sd card perhaps. That includes the cables and WiFi adapters as well.

The main omission is the GPIO but that could well have been on purpose for a size consideration as they are pennies to add (and very little to add yourself).

22
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

Re "late to market"

I suspect it's been released today to coincide with Thanksgiving and thus be able to make terrible puns about pi(e)

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

>Plus you have to add the cost of SD card, PSU, keyboard, mouse, USB hub, cables and cable adapters and most likely a WiFi module before you have anything really useful. So that's probably nearer £40 than £4

Informal Reg pole: How many of you here have these doodads already kicking around, taking up space in desk drawers and shoeboxes?

For those who don't, Pi are offering a pack containing a mini-HDMI to HDMI adaptor, micro-B USB to USB A female cable (OTG) and a 2x20 0.1" male GPIO header for a total of £4.

27
0
Windows

Re: Overpriced

"Informal Reg pole: How many of you here have these doodads already kicking around, taking up space in desk drawers and shoeboxes?"

Loads, but can never find the right one when I need it. Mini-USB cable? Not today, all I can find are 5 micro-USB cables... Tomorrow I'll inevitably have the opposite problem.

But I'm sure that one day I'll find a use for that 3-port IEEE1394 PCI card!

28
0

Re: Overpriced

But then, if you buy one of the other pi's (or beagle bone etc) then you have to buy them then too.

You buy them when you buy your new desktop computer or monitor too, though often the price is hidden in the overall price of what you buy.

6
0

Re: Overpriced

What people fail to realize is yes you can add all the usual parts to it (wifi, keyboard, etc) but what if you simply want a really tiny A+ hooked to a quad-copter? You know, a tiny Pi for the makers.

This is a good start since you don't have all the extra components of the B+ but rather a bare-bones A+ that you can add components to to make your own version for what you are making.

As for Wifi, it has options. USB hub to Wifi or use an SDIO wifi module on the GPIO.

- S.A

20
0

Re: Overpriced

Other than the fact that US sales tax ranges from 0 to a bit under 10%, of course :/

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

"Let's face it - a compute with _NO_ network connectivity is rather useless in this day and age."

No necessarily. Rather useless if you want to use it like a regular computer, but a little box of tricks like this is very well suited to a lot of niche standalone uses.

27
0

Re: Overpriced

> It could be an Arduino killer if it wasn't for the half a minute

> boot-up time and the risk of corrupting the SD card if the power

> supply is pulled without a proper shutdown.

I assumed SD corruption was in homage to ZX16K Ram Pack wobble!

8
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Overpriced

"It could be an Arduino killer if it wasn't for the half a minute boot-up time and the risk of corrupting the SD card if the power supply is pulled without a proper shutdown."

You can avoid the SD card corruption by putting volatile data into RAM discs and remounting the SD card read only.

Send logs to a remote syslog daemon (try "Kiwi" if you are a Windows type) and mount /tmp /var/lib and the like into RAM discs. There are probably lots of rather more detailed howtos out there ...

7
0
Pint

Re: Overpriced

This weekend, I shall be building a turntable controller for a model railway. Stepper motors and switches, and a need for a non-tech to pull the SD card and fiddle with the settings to suit his layout. (So Arduino is out for a super-fast development lash-up) - I'd say this is absolutely not useless. In fact I'd say it's just cut costs by £25 over a standard PiB2, and will do the job /perfectly/.

I believe you may have inadvertently confused your opinion for fact. It happens, have a beer.

26
0

Re: Overpriced

What I really want is a version that will connect with USB mini-B and a SCART cable - then I could justify that cable mountain I've been tending.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

Great that it is $4, but pity that it just makes the price of a working system about $200 instead of $240 - you are going to need an HDMI monitor and a broadband connection as well as all the other stuff. As for the idea that you can use the TV - well perhaps if you have a new enough one to have HDMI and no-one else in the family wants to watch it. The cheapest way to get a working system is probably a second hand laptop. This idea that a Pi is a cheap computer for poor kids is just spin.

Most sales will be as toys to us techies who have a collection of old keyboards, mice, displays etc left over from our recently replaced high performance gaming machines.

2
37
Anonymous Coward

Re: Overpriced

"HDMI compatible monitor"

Or as we call it, the TV.

And them there's remote desktop to the PI....

17
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

@Voland's right hand said:

Once you add the cost of WiFi or Ethernet it is not any different from B or B+ as cost.

Why? An ESP8266 board is £2, the rest of the stuff needed to get it going is parts bin. And once its up it can be run headless.

4
0

Re: Overpriced

You're all missing the point that you need a house, to provide the power socket, to plug the power supply into, thus raising the cost significantly.

That said, at least it's much cheaper for those of us in the North.

61
0

Re: Overpriced

The three I have are used in a class I run.

The Pi Zero is being sold at a bit more than the $ equivalent of 4 quid over here, the cheapest I've seen it is for $13 with a few leads. Well when I say sold everywhere is sold out.

1
0

Re: Overpriced

If so, then why is the Arduino so popular? Once the program er, the sketch is done, like the Arduino, it doesn't have to be connected to anything other than the device it controls, which might just be relays or optoisolators. Bingo! You have your multi colored Xmas tree LED light controller, or model railroad crossing, etc...

3
0

Re: Overpriced

"Which tech inclines person hasn't built up a collection of keyboards, mice, usb hubs and sd cards."

This. I have just literally given someone sticks of matched DDR, and a couple of core 2 duo chips because I have so much junk just sitting in a box being useless.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

> a compute with _NO_ network connectivity is rather useless in this day and age.

And yet many people find Arduinos to be useful.

This is a 'maker' device. Build it into a robot, wear it on your coat, run your plant watering system, ... Development can be done on-board (with TV and keyboard) or by connecting using SSH. Or develop on Pi 2 and deploy to Zero.

Think of it competing with the BBC thing or Arduino rather than a PC - it is only $5.

As an IoT device it can use 1-wire or I2c. You could add Bluetooth or WiFi.

6
0
Terminator

Terrible pain...

"Bingo! You have your multi colored Xmas tree LED light controller."

Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and you want me to control your multi-coloured xmas tree lights. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't.

24
0

Re: Overpriced

"It could be an Arduino killer if it wasn't for the half a minute boot-up time and the risk of corrupting the SD card if the power supply is pulled without a proper shutdown."

Well that's largely due to the standard Pi software images which are whole desktops.

A minimal system built with buildroot etc could boot in under 3 seconds and can be configured to avoid all the SD card corruption issues (eg. by using a read-only squashfs rootfs).

6
0

Re: Overpriced

>> As for the idea that you can use the TV - well perhaps if you have a new enough one to have HDMI and no-one else in the family wants to watch it.

This is how I learned to code. On a BBC Model B connected to a TV. But then my family had better things to do than mong in front of the box. You know, things like breathing, having a life, watching paint dry. If you're going to have a TV in your house, make the bloody thing useful. Create, don't mindlessly consume.

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

The problem for poor kids is that their parents are often poorly educated, so their family probably won't want to be doing much else than watch the box in the corner. If you aren't very literate, you aren't going to spend the evening reading Proust.

2
4
Pint

Re: Overpriced

@daswezel,

Have an upvote, i was thinking of doing the same, and another ro connect to the DCC controller to set up an auto sequence for running at exhibitions

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Overpriced

"turntable controller for a model railway."

Yes! This is exactly the type of project I was thinking of too. Kids building robots or whatever can have great fun, but at 30 quid each a standard Pi might be a bit expensive to permanently leave in place when they move onto the next project. The Pi Zero sounds like it's a drop in replacement once the dev work is done on a standard Pi for standalone robots or other controller applications.

3
0

Re: Overpriced

"a compute with _NO_ network connectivity is rather useless in this day and age."

Certainly I have several PIC 18Fs connected by RS232/USB converters to my file server and laptops and they are very useful - and accessible over networks by running a daemon to control/interrogate them.

0
0

Re: Overpriced

Risking a few downvotes here but !!!

Everyone stating that he doesnt need network connectivity and can just plug in a monitor.

Yes that works

Or just remote in.

Huh !!!! there is a link missing in that chain that he is complaining about.....

personally I would love this form factor with Ethernet, or preferably built in wireless, even for your quad copter fish tank light controller, having network connectivity would make a big difference !!! that being said, I agree no it is not always needed, although I believe it would get more use if it had network connectivity baked in.

1
0
Windows

Re: Overpriced - NOT an Arduino killer.

I buy Arduino mini-pro's in bags of 5 from China. £2 each.

I use them if I ever get a sudden uncontrollable urge to blink an LED, or create a metronome.

But, as a workhorse (needed a quick pulse generator to simulate varying high speed wind the other day), they're brilliant. Quicker to get that going than solder a 555 etc. onto a scrap of veroboard.

I have the datasheet for the '328p chip. If I was (re)starting programming, it's reasonably clear, and reasonably teachable to assembly level.

Not so the Broadcom chip in the new Pi-Zero. Low-level stuff is protected by IPR, GPU info is definitely hidden. Reading the available information* gave me a fit of the vapours.

So, you learn Python, Scratch, C.

New world.

* http://infocenter.arm.com/help/topic/com.arm.doc.ddi0301h/DDI0301H_arm1176jzfs_r0p7_trm.pdf

2
1
Pint

Re: Overpriced

@Raithmir dammit, you owe me a new keyboard.

That will be something like £40, apparently.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

>> You're all missing the point that you need a house, to provide the power socket, to plug the power supply into, thus raising the cost significantly. <<

And in order to program for it, you have to be alive, so there's all the running costs for your body (food, drink, clothing) to take into account. Add all that up and it gets even more pricey...

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Overpriced

>You're all missing the point that you need a house

Bugger, I live in a cave.

1
0
Coat

Re: Overpriced

"Informal Reg pole"

Is that, like, an over-familiar, Polish guy called Reg?

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

Or just remote in.

Huh !!!! there is a link missing in that chain that he is complaining about.....

There are hacks to go via USB cable to the IO pins.

IF you don't want to splash out the £2 for the WiFi board.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: graphics documentation

"Reading the available information* gave me a fit of the vapours."

Whenever I've looked at ARM's own documentation it's taken me back to an era I had feared had gone forever, when processors and the stuff around them were properly documented. Yes there's lots of it. Sometimes that's the point. Sometimes simplicity is good too.

"GPU info is definitely hidden"

Wondering if you saw this announcement last year (20140228), and/or what you feel is still missing? (Graphics isn't my thing)

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/a-birthday-present-from-broadcom/

"[...] Earlier today, Broadcom announced the release of full documentation for the VideoCore IV graphics core, and a complete source release of the graphics stack under a 3-clause BSD license. [...]"

Or this follow-up a few weeks later:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/quake-iii-bounty-we-have-a-winner/

"[...] At the end of February, Broadcom announced the release of full documentation for the VideoCore IV graphics core, and a complete source release of the graphics stack for the BCM21553 cellphone chip. To celebrate, we offered a $10k prize to the first person to port this codebase to the BCM2835 application processor that sits at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, and to get Quake 3 (which already runs on the Pi) running on the newly open ARM driver, rather on the closed-source VPU driver. Our hope was that the ported driver would be a helpful reference for anyone working on a Mesa/Gallium3D driver for VideoCore IV [...]"

3
0
Boffin

Re: Not today

I bought a few short mini- and micro-USB cables a while back, mini are black and micro are white so easy to find and not tangled in the pile of stuff that accumulates at the side of my desk.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: The PSU is just a phone charger

Not if you actually want to use it for anything it isn't. Indeed, the premier reason for dodgy performance on all Pi models to date has been given as "insufficient power supplied" and the advice offered is "you can't just use a phone charger and expect it to work".

I get my Pi power supplies from Sparkfun because they offer one that is guaranteed not to suffer from overvoltage if the unit is plugged in without the load attached and which can deliver the oomph required.

I doubt this is an Arduino killer, unless the power consumption of it is significantly lower than the original 256 meg Pi model B.

It is neat, though. I might buy one just because.

0
0

Re: _NO_ network connectivity

This is a tiny board suited to embedded applications where networking is not necessarily a priority, and anyway it's trivial to add if you want it.

1
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: _NO_ network connectivity

Precisely, it's a trivial add-on but an unneeded cost if you're only going to remove it anyway. One of the things I don't like about many boards is that they usually stack a pair of USB A ports with an Ethernet port so while the board may be small it needs a case that's inches high or the bother of desoldering the skyscrapers. It's one of the things I like about the Pi A+ boards. With the smaller form factor I will find the Pi Zero much more useful. Cheers to the Raspberry Pi folks, thank you.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Overpriced

> Or just remote in.

> Huh !!!! there is a link missing in that chain that he is complaining about.....

You can SSH in using the USB connection, or use a USB 'Terminal Cable' to GPIO pins.

http://elinux.org/How_to_use_an_Android_tablet_as_a_Raspberry_Pi_console_terminal_and_internet_router

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-raspberry-pi-lesson-5-using-a-console-cable

1
0
Windows

Re: graphics documentation

I stand corrected, Sir!

Yes, I remember seeing that article now.

My point was that I wouldn't use the Broadcom chip to teach a beginner to learn about microprocessor architecture.

I had it easy, I suppose. My first experience of microcontrollers was when a (reasonably elderly) engineer* gave me the Intel 4004 manual. I DRANK it!!!

Now, 40 years on, I use Atmel Xmega a-series, that manual is - well - hard. (Also several errors...Took me a week to get the A/D converter to give me a believable reading).

But, again, I wouldn't give it to a novice.

* He also gave me his HP35 RPN calculator. Still have it, in its leather 'wallet'. When I get the courage, I'll try to power it up. 40 years old???

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: graphics documentation

"I stand corrected, Sir!"

Please be seated.

"I wouldn't use the Broadcom chip to teach a beginner to learn about microprocessor architecture."

What sane person would? But as SoCs go, there's a lot of documentation about what you can do with the stuff in the Pi. Less about what's inside the Broadcom SoC, though probably still more than you'll see from the cheap and cheerful Rokchips and Allwinnners and such beloved of the "build one batch and move on to the next design" outfits out East.

0
0

Re: Overpriced

Tony Stark built the first Iron Man suit...in a cave...with a box of scraps!!!

He didnt have a Pi Zero. All he had was a cache of expensive high tech missile equipment.

If he had $5 for a Pi Zero though perhaps the suit would have been way better.

0
0

Re: Overpriced

You are correct, but the Pi is not really supposed to be an arduino killer. It's a computer, not a microcontroller. But a $5 computer than can coordinate a fleet (flock? herd?) of ~$10 microcontrollers is a damn good deal!

0
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018