The new board incorporates most of the improvements made to its B+ brother, taking it down to a lower price point ($25/£23) and shrinking the board down to 65x56mm, the size of a HAT (hardware attached on top), an add-on board. The A+ features a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM, dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2/BLE, plus improved USB mass storage boosting and thermal management. Plus, like its sibling, the whole board is certified as a radio module under FCC rules, which will significantly reduce the cost of conformance testing Raspberry Pi–based products.
They're smart enhancements, but ultimately the board is a pared-back version of its predecessors, and a lower price tag will make it -- and the Raspberry Pi Foundation ethos of promoting computer science in schools and developing countries -- more accessible to all. The launch marks the end of the 3+ platform. As the company explains in a blog post, whatever it does next will be less of an evolution as it explores new core silicon on a new process node with new memory technology. "So 3A+ is about closing things out in style," it says, "answering one of our most frequent customer requests, and clearing the decks so we can start to think seriously about what comes next."