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In Pictures: Pi, translated - The evolution of Raspberry Pi

It’s only been two years, but the Raspberry Pi has already come a long way.

  • A brief history of Pi

    The Raspberry Pi has been the object of a great deal of nerdy affection since its initial release in 2012. A mousetrap-sized, self-contained single-board computer, the Pi is designed to serve as both an educational tool and a handy option for hobbyists – who have turned it into, well, pretty much anything you can think of. Here’s a look back through the brief but illustrious history of the Pi.
  • The beginning

    Plagued by availability and distribution issues, the Raspberry Pi didn’t have a particularly smooth launch, although a big part of that was its popularity from the outset. A resale trade that saw Pis turned around for more than $220 existed briefly. (Pictured here: a 2011 prototype.)
  • Model A

    Interestingly, the Model A was not the first Raspberry Pi to hit general availability – that distinction went to the Model B. The A was, nevertheless, the truest to the bare-bones ethos of the Pi project, retailing for $25 and initially packing just 128MB of memory. (Later raised to 256MB.)
  • Model B

    The flagship model, selling for $35, was the first to really hit the mainstream, boasting additional memory and I/O ports and helping to propel the Raspberry Pi to the forefront of the little-tiny-computing industry.
  • The compute module

    A more recent development is the Raspberry Pi compute module, an even-smaller model designed for use as an embedded device – it uses a SODIMM connection to plug directly into other computers, the idea being to allow many units to run in parallel or to cater to users who want to design their own printed circuit boards. Development kits are available for $200, but the modules aren’t yet on sale a la carte.
  • Model B+

    The upgraded Raspberry Pi Model B+ packs additional RAM (a total of 512MB), 4 USB ports, and an expanded GPIO for more input/output flexibility. The B+ launched this summer, and can be had for the same price as the earlier Model B.
  • Model A+

    The latest Raspberry Pi is the Model A+, which shrinks the form factor still further – the A+ weighs less than an ounce, and measures 2.56 x 2.22 inches on a side. (It’s about 10mm tall.) Impressively, it keeps almost all the features of the earlier Model A and even adds the 17-pin GPIO present on the Model B+. The lone downside? Still no Ethernet port.
  • What’s next?

    Honestly, we have no idea. But if the trend towards smaller and cheaper keeps going at this rate, the next Raspberry Pi model will be about the size of a Cheez-It and cost $5. It’s an impressive design achievement, and whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
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