Second helpings

Raspberry Pi reaches final ‘evolution’ with B+

Lucy Carey
pie.1

Microcomputer team announce the launch of Raspberry Pi Model B+, with more USB hubs, sensors, and enhanced connectivity.

The Raspberry Pi has cropped up in a lot of
places over the past two years, from a crowd pleasing JavaOne
DukePad
incarnation, to the quirky (and relatively useless)

Pi Phone
. But even as its fame has grown, the team
behind it have remained single-minded in their goal of perfecting
the single cell computer. Their efforts have come to fruition with
the launch of the

Raspberry Pi Model B+
, which the team state
 is not “Raspberry Pi 2″, but rather the final evolution of
the original Raspberry Pi.”

Still priced at $35, the new B+ release,
available from today, promises to offer customers a good deal more
zest for their buck. The team have taken into account a series of
small changes users have requested over the years B+’s design, and
the result is a unit that feels very similar, but with a
user-friendly sheen.

As in Model B, the B+ incorporates a BCM2835
application processor and runs the same software. It’s also still
packing 512MB RAM. What has changed is the number of GPIO headers,
which have leapt up in number from 26 to 40 pins, meaning that even
more sensors expansions boards and connectors can be tacked on.
Compared to Model 2, the Pi’s USB ports now offer better hotplug
and overcurrent behaviour, and have doubled to four in
total.

The Pi’s cumbersome old friction-fit SD card
socket has been replaced with a sleek push-push micro SD version,
and by changing linear regulators for switching ones, the device
offers lower power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W. There’s also
better audio, thanks to a dedicated low-noise power supply within
the audio circuit, and a sleek new look, with USB connectors
aligned to the board edge, composite video shifted to the 3.5mm
jack, and four aesthetically pleasing square-placed mounting
holes.

There are one or two areas where it’s not all so
exciting though – new heftier computer dimensions, which have
altered from 85 x 56 x 17mm  to  85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm mean
that old cases and certain daughterboards will be consigned to the
junk pile if you want to upgrade. Fortunately, the understanding Pi
guys recognise that not everyone will be in a position to invest in
a new set of equipment, especially industrial companies, and for
this reason, they’ve pledged to ensure  ensure continuity for
as long as there’s demand for it.


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