Raspberry Pi Trading, the business arm of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has officially launched a next-generation model of its highly successful single-board computer: the Raspberry Pi Model B+.
The Raspberry Pi Model B+ offers more USB ports and GPIO, but drops compatibility with existing cases and certain add-on boards.
Designed as an upgrade from the existing Model B Revision 2, the Model B+ features the same 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 single-core ARMv6 system-on-chip (SoC) processor and module-on-module 512MB RAM as its predecessor. Although that's a disappointment for those who were hoping for a more modern instruction set architecture or more powerful dual-core variant, it's nothing but good news from a software compatibility front: any software that works on an existing Raspberry Pi will work on a Model B+ without modification.
The layout of the board has been considerably changed, with the upper edge being left completely free of 90-degree connectors and the left edge holding only the new micro-SD storage slot. The remainder of the connectors are split into four USB 2.0 ports - double that of the Model B - and an Ethernet connector on the right-hand side and power, HDMI video and a combined analogue audio and composite video 3.5mm connector along the bottom edge. The CSI and DSI ports remain intact, albeit shifted from their original locations.
A major change is in the general-purpose input-output (GPIO) capabilities of the Model B+. The 26-pin GPIO header of its predecessors has been replaced with a 40-pin version, of which the first 26 pins are identical to the Model A and Model B Revision 2 layout. While that offers compatibility with a large number of existing add-ons, not everything will work: the P5 header has been removed, so devices that rely on this - such as the Wolfson Audio Card - are incompatible with the Model B+.
The best news, however, comes in the pricing: the Model B+ is available from today, priced at under £28 from most retailers. That's roughly the same price as the original Model B, although buyers will also have to factor in the cost of a replacement case to mirror the board's new layout.