In November 2015 the Raspberry Pi Zero was released -- a tiny $5 entry-level Raspberry Pi, cheap enough that the Foundation even gave it away free with its MagPi magazine (if you managed to grab one quick enough). Since then the tiny board has been used in projects from miniature arcade cabinets to electric skateboards. But many of these projects need wireless connections which means adding a wireless dongle -- and that can easily cost more than the Zero.
The new Zero W uses the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B to provide 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
The Foundation said the device will now make a better general-purpose computer because users are less likely to need a hub, and if using Bluetooth peripherals might not need to plug anything into the USB port. "And of course it's a great platform for experimenting with IoT applications," it added.
The Foundation said there is also a new official injection-moulded case for the board, and new distributors including ModMyPi in the UK; pi3g in Germany; Samm Teknoloji in Turkey; Kubii in France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal; and Kiwi Electronics in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
The Foundation said the new board is available from all Zero distributors today, with the exception of Micro Center, which should have stock in stores by the end of this week.
It's five years since the original Raspberry Pi was launched. In that time it has grown into one of the biggest UK technology successes of all time. The team thought they might sell a thousand: they sold one hundred thousand on the first day, and have now sold over twelve million of the tiny devices in various designs.
Last month the Pi makers unveiled the Compute Module 3, a slimmed-down Raspberry Pi 3 for developing customized hardware, such as TV displays, industrial control systems, and home media players.