Raspberry Pi 2 announced: tiny quad-core computing for $42

What will $42 get you these days? A few albums on a digital music website, or even a 3D Blu-ray that no one will watch in 3D? What about a Windows 10 computer? That last one will be possible later this year with a new Raspberry Pi.

While it’s not edible (even with a scrumptious sounding name), Raspberry Pi’s latest pint-sized computer could get more kids into programming than ever thanks to what it is and what it will be able to do.

The new model is the second major release for the company, which has released tiny budget computers for the past couple of years in an effort to cut the cost of computers and provide young people with a starting point for learning how to program.

Hobbyists have also jumped on the bandwagon, finding unique ways to make the budget computers usable, even going so far as to make home theatre systems and video game arcade machines out of the tiny Raspberry Pi computers, which tend to fetch a cost of around $35-40.

Raspberry Pi’s newly announced model looks set to keep the low cost while upping the specs, improving the speed, and together with Microsoft, will even deliver Windows 10 later in the year.

Called the “Raspberry Pi 2 Model B”, this tiny computer keeps the size of the first Model B Pi computers but changes the specs, throwing in a quad-core computer clocked at 900MHz, brings the memory up to 1GB (RAM), with this combination of technology speeding up boot time and essentially being up to six times faster.

Four USB ports are found here, as well as an HDMI port capable of sending out 1080p Full HD video, with a wired 10/100 Ethernet port, 3.5mm stereo jack, and a microSD slot for storage, while still taking power from the same microUSB port that charges most of our phones and small tablets these days, as long as you’re not using one produced by Apple.

Variants of Linux are still the focus for these tiny computers, but there’s interesting news if you’re unsure about that operating system and want something familiar like Linux, with Microsoft and Raspberry Pi working together to come up with a free edition of Windows 10.

This new version will be available later this year and will be free of charge, with a Raspberry Pi 2 compatible edition of Windows 10 developed through the Windows for IoT (Internet of Things) developer program.

While we’re not sure what will and what won’t work, this certainly meshes with Microsoft’s hope that Windows 10 works with as many devices as possible, even one that will cost as little as $40, albeit without a microSD card, which you’ll need for storage on the Pi computer.

Element14 has checked in with us on the local price, informing us that the new computer will hit online shops for roughly $42 ($38 without GST), though you may find other prices around town from various e-tailers.

Availability should be now, and even though Windows 10 for Pi 2 won’t officially land until later this year, you can still get cracking with Linux.