We’re having a very busy, very mobile couple of days. We’ve been talking to Welsh teachers, spending time at the factory in Pencoed, doing EMC testing on the camera boards, picking up engineering samples of the Model A, visiting suppliers, and generally running up and down the south of England and Wales with our hair on fire. Sorry I wasn’t able to fit in a post here yesterday; I’ll make it up with an extra post over the weekend.
First up, here’s the very first (blurry, cameraphone) picture of a Model A board. I’ll take some more at the weekend with better detail when I’m near a proper camera.
I posted this picture on Twitter when I opened the box, and had some questions from our followers which I suspect some of you guys might be thinking about too, so I’ll deal with them now:
How much RAM does it have?
The Model A has 256MB RAM.
Updated to add: What’s the power consumption like?
Significantly lower than the Model B’s requirement. For all the gory details and exhaustive figures from our tests, visit this thread in the forums.
Isn’t the Model A kind of obsolete now the Model B has twice the RAM? What could I use it for?
We’re anticipating that those of you who buy the Model A will be using it for different applications from Model B owners. Model A has no ethernet and only one USB slot – and importantly, it consumes much less power than a Model B because the ethernet chip’s missing. We’re seeing demand for the Model A from people making industrial control modules, from roboticists, from people doing automation, for a bunch of headless operations – and, significantly, for people who want to use the Pi as a very cheap media centre. The Model A will only cost $25 (plus tax and shipping).
Wouldn’t it be cheaper for you to use a custom PCB without the existing routing for the ethernet?
Because of the volumes we’re producing, it’s actually less expensive for us to use the existing PCB we use for the Model B, and just not populate the ethernet part of the board, than to lay-out and separately manufacture a new PCB just for the Model A.
Where are you building the Model A?
We’re making the Model A at the Sony factory in Pencoed, Wales. For the foreseeable future, all Model As will be built there – whichever distributor they’re sold by.
We’re pretty excited. The Model A is something we wanted to produce months ago, but the crazy demand for the Model B has meant that we’ve not been able to build them, because to do so would mean that we have to cannibalise Model B parts – and that would mean that people who are experiencing the backlog would have to wait even longer. We’re hoping to get them off the line and into the hands of our distributors early in the new year, which will put us in a position where that strap line at the top of the page is actually accurate: you’ll be able to buy a $25 computer, which is what we’ve wanted to give you all along.