Hardware

This Raspberry Pi-powered Linux computer packs a keyboard and display into a phone-sized case

The Zero Terminal turns the Pi into a computer that's ready to use on the move.

What would you get if you crossed the $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W with a smartphone? You might end up with the Zero Terminal.

The Zero Terminal is a homemade project by a maker known as Node, who has turned the Pi Zero W into a phone-sized computer with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen display.

Rather than running a phone OS, the Zero Terminal runs a full desktop, the Linux-based system Raspbian.

SEE: Raspberry Pi Zero W: The smart person's guide

By turning the Pi into a ready to use computer, the Terminal gets around a fundamental limitation of the Pi, which generally needs to be hooked up to a monitor and keyboard for use on the move.

The limitations of the Zero's specs mean the device is better suited to undemanding tasks such as coding, working in the command line, word processing or running old games in emulators, rather than using the web browser and other desktop programs.

However, Node promises an alternate model of the Terminal will use the more powerful, but slightly larger, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which can run a desktop OS reasonably comfortably.

Powered by a rechargeable 1,500mAh battery, the Zero Terminal can also be hooked up to a monitor and mouse, via its HDMI and full USB port, unlike the vanilla Pi Zero W, which requires additional adapters.

The Terminal's shell is 3D printed, while the keyboard is provided by an attached iPhone 5 sliding keyboard case. Once Node has finished refining the design of the chassis, the 3D files will be released.

However, if you fancy building your own version, everything other part is an off-the-shelf component, with the case containing an Adafruit PiTFT Plus display, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, an Adafruit Powerboost 1000c charge controller, a 1500mAh battery, and some micro SD breakout boards. You can find more details on how to get started here.

Specs

  • 1GHz, 32-bit single-core ARM-based Broadcom BCM2835 CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini HDMI Out
  • 1xUSB Port
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Micro SD Slot
  • 3.5" Screen (480x320)
  • Full QWERTY Keyboard
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1500mAh Battery

Read more about the Raspberry Pi

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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