Good things come in small packages. The Raspberry Pi Foundation seems to think so, at least, because the organization announced that it has shrunk down the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ to a smaller Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ device that is available now from resellers for $25 (£19).
The original Raspberry Pi was followed by a version with less RAM, a nixed USB hub, and missing Ethernet controller. This allowed The Raspberry Pi Foundation to shrink the device, and gave resellers a cheaper option for people who weren't willing to pay for the original single-board computer. Yet it decided not to follow that approach with the Raspberry Pi Model 2 or Model 3 despite the smaller version's popularity.
Now the foundation has returned to its roots. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ makes the same concessions as its predecessor: its RAM is halved to 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, the four USB 2.0 ports are reduced to one, and the gigabit Ethernet available in its larger counterpart is nowhere to be found. But the $25 (£19) price tag on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ compares favorably to the $35 (£34) of the Model B+ it emulates.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation explained that the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is more than just an alternative of its latest board:
"In some ways this is rather a poignant product for us. Back in March, we explained that the 3+ platform is the final iteration of the “classic” Raspberry Pi: whatever we do next will of necessity be less of an evolution, because it will need new core silicon, on a new process node, with new memory technology. So 3A+ is about closing things out in style, answering one of our most frequent customer requests, and clearing the decks so we can start to think seriously about what comes next."
The foundation also developed a case for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, but it's not expected to be available until December, which the foundation said is "just in time to serve as a stocking filler for the geek in your life." We agree, and you can check out our guide for Raspberry Pi projects to complete as a family if you need inspiration. Or, if you're looking for similar gifts, check out our recommendations for the maker in your life.