Second helpings

Raspberry Pi reaches final ‘evolution’ with B+

Lucy Carey

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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