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article imageThis tiny $10 computer comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in

By James Walker     Mar 1, 2017 in Technology
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has celebrated its fifth birthday by launching a new product, the successor to the highly successful Raspberry Pi Zero computer. The $10 Zero W adds Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the tiny form factor, making the Pi more versatile.
The Raspberry Pi Zero launched in November 2015. Accompanied by a promotional campaign that saw it given away on the front of a magazine, the palm-sized machine proved so successful it was sold out at many retailers for months.
The new Zero W has the same minute dimensions as the original, measuring up at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm. The tiny board holds a single-core 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM and a microSD slot for storage. These specifications are enough to run a wide range of Linux distributions and the Zero's hardware has already been proven in many varied workloads.
Connectivity suggests of a mini-HDMI display port and two micro-USB ports for power and peripherals. There's also a 40-pin GPIO header for connecting external electrical components, a ribbon connector for an optional camera accessory and headers for composite video output.
Finally, the Zero W is completed by its headline features, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The addition of wireless connectivity will make the Pi easier to use and setup, removing the need for a USB hub and external Wi-Fi dongle to use a keyboard, mouse and network connection simultaneously. The Zero's tiny dimensions have made it the computer of choice for many IoT experiments. With Bluetooth on-board, it’s now even more versatile.
"We imagine you'll find all sorts of uses for Zero W," said Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton. "It makes a better general-purpose computer because you're less likely to need a hub: if you're using Bluetooth peripherals you might well end up with nothing at all plugged in to the USB port. And of  course it’s a great platform for experimenting with IoT applications."
The Pi Zero W represents a milestone launch for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the UK charity that aimed to reignite excitement around computing with the original Pi. It turned five years old this week having grown to a scale it couldn't have imagined back in 2012.
After selling a hundred thousand computers on day one, the organisation has gone on to sell a combined total of over twelve million machines worldwide. Sales of the Zero will represent a significant proportion of the overall figure.
The Raspberry Pi has attained a diversity of application that few other computers can claim. Models have been used to power everything from robots made by school children to highly complex supercomputers driven by clusters of hundreds of Pis. The Foundation's products are still largely unrivalled too, although alternatives such as the education-focused BBC micro:bit and media-oriented ASUS Tinker are attempting to expand the Pi-led maker ecosystem with more options.
The Pi Zero W is available today from Pi distributors and retailers across the world. As with the original Zero, demand is expected to be very high and sales will be limited to one per customer initially.
The wireless connectivity has made Zero W pricing higher than the Zero, adding a $5 premium and taking the total to $10. Many retailers will sell the Zero W with an "essentials" kit that includes key adapters to help you get started.
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