$US25 Raspberry Pi Model A ships in Europe and soon the world

Hardware stripped down to make new price point

Just as Henry Ford revolutionized the auto world with his Model A, the scrappy lot at Raspberry Pi are doing the same with the computing world with their Model A.

Priced at $US25, the Raspberry Pi Model A went on sale in Europe today, although that restriction will be lifted "very soon", according to a blog at the Raspberry Pi Foundation website.

In the US, the Model A can be pre-ordered from Allied Electronics. The units will also be available for onsite purchasing at Newark/element 14 when they're cleared for U.S. sale.

When the Linux-based Model A was introduced last year, it sold out in a matter of minutes.

To hit the $US25 price point, the makers of the single-board computer - which has reportedly sold a million units in less than a year - had to strip down some of its features. The Ethernet port is removed, RAM is reduced to 256MB, and the unit has only one USB port.

The new Model A also consumes about a third of the power of its higher-priced sibling, the Model B, which sells for $US35. That should be good news for RPi hackers puttering with running the computer on battery or solar power, as well as those tinkering with applications such as operating sensors at remote locations and setting up Wi-Fi repeaters.

Another application for the Model A cited by the foundation is as the hub of a media center. XBMC, a free and open source media player application, worked well with early Model B's that had only 256MB of memory, so the software should work equally well with the Model A, the foundation reasoned.

Since its introduction, the credit-card sized RPi has attracted legions of followers who have used the devices for everything from homebrew mobile computers to a LEGO supercomputer.

The RPi community even has its own app store, opened last year,  that offers free games, apps, tutorials, and media for the diminutive byte board.

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