You partly have Eric Schmidt to thank for the new $5 Raspberry Pi

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You partly have Eric Schmidt to thank for the new $5 Raspberry Pi


While many of you were supposed to be eating turkey on Thursday, you were instead geeking out over Raspberry PI's newest computer, the Zero: a pint-sized module that costs just $5. But according to a new interview, that $5 computer was originally supposed to cost around $60 -- and you have partly have Google's Eric Schmidt to thank for that reduced price. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton admitted that the follow-up to the original $35 Pi was originally going to be a more powerful model, whose higher-performing internals would have put the price somewhere between $50 and $60.

But then in 2013 Upton had the chance to meet Google chairman Eric Schmidt, whose company had recently awarded a $1 million grant to Raspberry Pi. Schmidt wanted to know what the foundation was up to next. Upton told him. Schmidt was apparently not impressed. "He said it was very hard to compete with cheap," Upton told the Journal. "He made a very compelling case. It was a life-changing conversation."

Indeed. Following that heart-to-heart with Schmidt, Upton says he abandoned his plans for the more expensive Pi, which led him instead on the path to the $5 system-on-a-chip we have today. To be sure, it won't be as powerful as the one Upton originally dreamed up, but for many users it will still be enough: Even with a low-end Broadcom BCM2835 processor and just 512MB of RAM, it still promises to be 40 percent faster than the original Pi.


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