The folks at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have never been shy about running with a bold idea. Take the new Raspberry Pi 400 for example: the latest device from the British computer maker that features an updated Raspberry Pi 4 built directly into a compact keyboard.
The Raspberry Pi 400 harks back to the popular 8-bit home computers of the 80s. The homage is deliberate: Raspberry Pi co-creator Eben Upton said the Pi 400 was inspired by devices like the ZX Spectrum, Commodore Amiga and BBC Micro, which were essentially keyboards with integrated motherboards that you plug straight into a screen.
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“Raspberry Pi has always been a PC company. Inspired by the home computers of the 1980s, our mission is to put affordable, high-performance, programmable computers into the hands of people all over the world,” Upton said in a blog post announcing the new device.
“And inspired by these classic PCs, here is Raspberry Pi 400: a complete personal computer, built into a compact keyboard.”
The Raspberry Pi 400 is essentially a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B inside a keyboard, albeit running at a slightly higher clock speed. It also has specially designed thermals to negate any overheating issues. “It’s a faster, cooler 4GB Raspberry Pi 4,” as Upton puts it.
In technical specs, this translates into a 64-bit quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (compared to the Pi 4’s 1.5GHz processor), 4GB RAM, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, built-in Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, dual-display output and 4K video playback.
The Pi 400 features two USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB 2.0 port. The GPIO pins remain accessible, meaning users can connect components and hack together their own projects.
Raspberry Pi is offering two packages: for $70 you’ll get the keyboard by itself, with no extras. Spend another $30 and you’ll get the complete kit, which Raspberry Pi is calling its “Christmas morning product”. In addition to the Pi 400, the complete bundle includes a USB mouse, power supply, a micro HDMI to HDMI cable, as SD card pre-loaded with the Raspberry Pi operating system, as well as the fourth edition of official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide. Not bad for $100.
The ultimate home-working kit?
Raspberry Pi has seen a sharp uptick in demand for its devices in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic sent consumers scrambling for affordable home-working and learning solutions.
Even with shipments at an all-time high, the company has continued to release new devices at pace: April brought us the launch of the High Quality Camera, while the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 was released less than a month ago.
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With Raspberry Pi 400, Raspberry Pi is pivoting even more towards the remote-working and learning space, specifically focusing on giving consumers a full PC experience in situations where desk space is often a luxury. “User friendliness is about more than performance: it can also be about form factor,” said Upton.
“In particular, having fewer objects on your desk makes for a simpler set-up experience… No separate system unit and case; no keyboard cable. Just a computer, a power supply, a monitor cable, and (sometimes) a mouse.”
The Raspberry Pi 400 is available to buy in UK, US, and French Italian configurations from today. Italian, German, and Spanish should be available within the next week, Upton said.
“We expect that Approved Resellers in India, Australia, and New Zealand will have kits and computers in stock by the end of the year. We’re rapidly rolling out compliance certification for other territories too, so that Raspberry Pi 400 will be available around the world in the first few months of 2021.”