Raspberry Pi Zero launched today, touted as “the $5 computer,” and it turns out (via The Wall Street Journal), that its existence — or at least its announcement today, before the launch of a more expensive Raspberry Pi — is partly thanks the words of none other than ex-Google CEO and now Alphabet Inc. chairman Eric Schmidt…

Schmidt ran into Raspberry Pi foundation founder Eben Upton in January 2013 at an event at which the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that it had received a $1 million grant from Google to distribute its first device to children.

He asked Upton what Raspberry Pi had planned for the future.

“I told him we were thinking of making future Raspberry Pi’s a little bit more expensive, up at about $50 or $60, and a bit more powerful,” Upton told WSJ.

Apparently, Schmidt didn’t think this was the best direction for the company.

“He said it was very hard to compete with cheap. He made a very compelling case. It was a life-changing conversation,” Upton went on to say, suggesting that in that moment the focus immediately went to building a cheaper computer. “The idea was to make a more powerful thing at the same price, and then make a cheaper thing with the same power.”

The company did just that. Earlier this year, the Raspberry Pi 2 was launched at the same $35 price as the original, and now the company has launched a more-than-capable $5 computer — the Pi Zero. Eric Schmidt, as always, changing the world with his words of wisdom.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.