Just over a month ago, Raspberry Pi upgraded its Zero with 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity, dubbing it the Zero W. This new wireless functionality came with an added cost, doubling the price of the computing board from $5 to $10.
Not to be outdone, Chinese company Orange Pi has come out with its own counter to the Raspberry Pi Zero W. The Orange Pi 2G-IoT incorporates 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, but it goes one step further by providing a 2G radio for cellular connectivity. The 2G radio supports GSM/GPRS data connections, and there is a SIM card slot on the underside of the board.
Other features include an RDA Micro 8810PL ARM Cortex A5 32-bit processor running at 1GHz, 256MB of RAM, a Vivante GC860 GPU and 512MB of onboard NAND storage. External storage is supported by a microSD slot and you’ll find a single USB 2.0 port. You’ll also find a camera connector, 40-pin GPIO connector, which is compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories.
It should be noted that while the inclusion of a 2G radio is an added bonus at this price point, many mobile operators are shutting down their 2G networks. AT&T killed off its 2G network late last year, while Verizon Wireless will shutter its 2G CDMA 1X network on December 31st, 2019. We should also mention that the Raspberry Pi Zero W also has twice the amount of RAM (512MB) and a much more loyal fan base.
Whatever the case, it’s always good to see competition for Raspberry Pi in the developer board market, BBC’s Micro Bit computer is being used extensively in the U.K. education system to help children learn how to code. And ASUS has gotten in on the action with its Tinker Board, which compares favorably against the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.