So I just went to my local MicroCenter, and picked up a Raspberry Pi Zero for $5. It’s pretty much everything the model “A” had, but with 512MB of memory. You could also say that it’s like a model “B” without the network jack. Networking is really the only thing this model is missing, and if you are planning to use a USB hub, or just a wireless network adapter, then you should be all set.
The way I have the CrashPi set up right now with a powered USB hub running the whole thing, I realize that I could replace the current B+ with a Zero, and everything would continue to work just fine. The only new piece of hardware needed is a Micro-USB to regular USB adapter, sometimes called an “OTG” (USB On-The-Go) adapter, so I picked one of those up as well. Due to the new design, I also had to use a Mini-HDMI adapter which I originally bought for our DSLR camera. I have used the adapter precisely zero times for that purpose, so it’s nice to see it finally getting some use.
I just burned a new Raspbian Jessie image to the card and plugged it in. According to my “Charger Doctor”, it’s only drawing 130 milliamps with the desktop running, so the power consumption is considerably less than previous models. The possibility of battery-powering this new version is very real. The composite video output is still there in the form of some unpopulated solder pads on the board, so you’ll have to provide your own jack. At this point, I’m thinking it should be very possible to buy one of those “TV Games” joysticks, and entirely replace the guts with a Pi Zero, making it the most portable DIY emulation system ever.
If it weren’t for the lack of networking, I’d be ready to replace my single Raspberry Pi Home Server with a cluster of Pi Zeros, each running just one or two of the normal server functions. You could have one that just runs VPN, another that’s just for the file server, and another that’s just doing CrashPlan. The functions would be more isolated, and you’d STILL be cheaper than a normal Pi. Adding in USB hubs and wireless adapters would raise the cost of course, but it’s amazing what you can find on Amazon.
Oh yes. There will be updates coming.