The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the Raspberry Pi 400, a compact keyboard with an all integrated ARM-based computer. Just connect it to a TV or monitor using one of its two micro HDMI ports, insert a microSD card, plug in a power cable and mouse, and you’ve got a basic computer for your daily tasks, encoding or playing multimedia files. It is available starting today as a standalone machine for $ 70 or in a package that includes a mouse, power supply, microSD card, HDMI cable, and beginner’s guide for just $ 100.
The hope is that the design of the Pi 400 will make it even more accessible and intuitive. This factor is important when you are selling a cheap computer and it is especially important when you are selling a device of this invoice, also accessible to children, to learn programming.
The founder of Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton in an interview performed before the product launch said: “It’s the gift to put under the Christmas tree and within a few seconds you are ready and sitting in front of the TV with a computer” .
The design of the Raspberry Pi 400 immediately brings to mind early home computers such as the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. While Raspberry Pi’s have become a very popular tool among computer enthusiasts, they are also designed as accessible computers for children to help them become familiar with the software.
“The dream, of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, is always to attract people to buy a PC and then get them to become computer programmers,” says Upton: “This is what happened to me, I was tricked into buying a ZX. Spectrum and then suddenly I became a software engineer. “
Aside from the keyboard and shape, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a very similar computer to the Raspberry Pi 4 that came out last year.
It has a 1.8GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
There are a pair of micro HDMI ports that can each transmit up to 4K / 60Hz, two USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB 2.0 port. Power is supplied via a USB-C port, there is a microSD card slot for storage in addition to the GPIO port for connecting a variety of control devices for home and industrial automation.
While internally it is similar to Raspberry Pi devices, the external appearance of the Pi 400 is anything but similar to the Pi 4. Depending on the region in which you buy it, the computer is integrated into a 78 or, 79-key keyboard. , which has a similar design to most compact laptop keyboards.
At launch, there are six different keyboard layouts – UK, US, German, French, Italian and Spanish – the Raspberry Pi Foundation says: “More variants will soon be available for the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese markets. and Japanese “.
Thankfully, this isn’t the first Raspberry Pi keyboard: last year the company released a standard one without an integrated computer. I’m saying luckily because many home computers, I mean those from the early 1980s, had absolutely awful and unwieldy keyboards. Upton says: “The company’s approach was inspired by the way PC maker Acorn Computers used its standalone keyboard as the foundation for the Acorn Atom computer.”
It’s not just children learning to code that the company wants to sell the Pi 400 to. “Who should help then? It should help anyone who needs a computer, ”Upton says.
Interestingly, this also includes businesses, and that the company sees the Raspberry Pi 400 being used as a corporate desktop computer or for call center agents. Interestingly, this is one of the reasons the Raspberry Pi 4 and Pi 400 have two HDMI outputs, because two monitors are the default for many business systems.
That said, Upton admits that the Pi 400’s pink and white color scheme won’t be within the reach of everyone’s tastes. “We’ll need to do it in gray and black and it will break our hearts,” he jokes, “We make our products in pink and white and we think it’s the right color and then we’re dragged and screamed at gray and black.”
It would have seemed unrealistic, a few years ago, to dream of an office full of ARM-based computers when processors were largely considered low-powered for anything besides phones and tablets, but in a year when Apple is starting to change the way. architecture of its Mac computers, that scenario doesn’t seem all that absurd.
Upton calls Apple’s next step a “validation” of ARM’s status as a true PC architecture, and says it’s proof that PCs are no longer synonymous with x86 processors. In the long run, he says the change should incentivize more developers to build or optimize their software to run better on ARM, and that whatever happens on macOS, it will likely benefit the open source ecosystem and ultimately the Raspberry Pi itself.
Unless you’re willing to do some serious tweaking, the Raspberry Pi 400 will always be a Linux PC. This makes it perfect if you are trying to learn programming, but it will still be a stumbling block for many PC owners with Windows and Mac operating systems who are looking for a simple machine for everyday tasks, which in turn, do with the computer. .
But with a starting price of $ 70, the Raspberry Pi 400 is far less expensive than even the cheapest phones, and it comes with a keyboard that’s big enough for you to type properly. For many people, and for students in particular, this may be exactly what they need in a year when many people still work from home and need a computer.
The Raspberry Pi 400 is available immediately. The $ 100 kit is available in the UK, US, France and Italy, Germany and Spain will be available from next week. Meanwhile, the $ 70 standalone version is available in the UK, US, France and Germany and will arrive in Italy and Spain shortly. It will be available later this year in India, Australia and New Zealand.