While $35 may not buy what it once did, it's still enough to buy the newest microcomputer from Raspberry Pi. Based on the Model B, Raspberry Pi's new Model B+ is an upgraded version of the previous system.
With the B+, Raspberry Pi is adding two more USB ports for a total of four, 16 additional GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins on top of the original 26, a micro SD slot to replace the B's full size SD reader, lower power consumption, improved audio performance, composite video moved to the 3.5 mm jack and more. The B+ still keeps its ARM-based Broadcom BCM2835 chipset, 512MB of RAM and 700 MHz ARM CPU.
Raspberry Pi is hoping this update will help address user feedback in the years since the original's release. A total a four USB ports gives users flexibility to add keyboard, mouse and Wi-Fi dongle and still have a port leftover. The addition of 16 GPIO pins gives greater flexibility for peripherals like LEDs and the micro SD slot features a sleeker implementation to maintain the Pi's svelte figure. The four corner positioned mounting holes will make it easier to design cases for the Pi or integrate it with other devices.
For users who might prefer the Model B, it will still be available to support the large number of existing devices based upon the original. Raspberry Pi founder Ben Upton said that future availability will continue "as long as there is industrial demand."
Upton also made it clear the B+ is not Raspberry Pi 2.0, but in fact the final evolution of the original device. Presumably the Raspberry Pi foundation is now hard at work making a true successor to the Model B's empire.
The microcomputer space is growing market with the Pi facing competition from big names like Intel and smaller groups like Gooseberry, Hummingbird and Utilite. This puts increased pressure on the Raspberry Pi foundation to not just revise, but innovate.
Until then, you can keep yourself busy with B+ which is available today from Raspberry Pi maker element 14. The original Model B was released in early 2012 and, combined the $25 Model A, has sold more than 2 million units in two years.