02 November 2020 22:30

Raspberry Pi 400

The Raspberry Pi 400 is a compact keyboard with a built-in computer

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the Raspberry Pi 400, a compact keyboard with an ARM-based computer built in. Just plug it into a TV or monitor using one of its two micro HDMI ports, insert a microSD card, attach a power cord and mouse, and you've got yourself a basic computer for day-to-day tasks, coding, or media playback. It's available starting today as a standalone machine for $70 or in a bundle including a mouse, power supply, microSD card, HDMI cable, and beginner's guide for $100. That's important when you're selling an affordable computer, and it's especially important when you're selling an accessible device to help children learn to code. "It can sit under your Christmas tree and… if you open your presents at 9 o'clock, by 10 o'clock you can be sitting in front of your television with a computer," Raspberry Pi's founder, Eben Upton, tells me in an interview ahead of the announcement.

"The dream always with Raspberry Pi is to lure people into buying a PC and then trick them into becoming computer programmers" The Raspberry Pi 400's form factor immediately brings to mind early home computers like the BBC Micro or ZX Spectrum, and that's no accident. Although Raspberry Pi's small computers have become a popular tool for hobbyists to do everything from building inexpensive AirPlay receivers to automating smart homes, at their core they're designed as accessible computers to help children learn to code. "The dream always with Raspberry Pi is to lure people into buying a PC and then trick them into becoming computer programmers," Upton says. Aside from its keyboard and form factor, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a very similar computer to last year's Raspberry Pi 4. It's got a slightly faster quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, up from 1.5GHz in the Pi 4, 4GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There are a pair of micro HDMI ports that can each output up to 4K / 60Hz, two USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB 2.0 port.

Power is provided via a USB-C port, there's a microSD card slot for storage, and there's a GPIO header for attaching a variety of more niche devices. At launch, there are six different keyboard layouts — UK, US, German, French, Italian, and Spanish — and Upton tells me there are additional variants for the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, and Japanese markets on the way soon. Thankfully, this isn't Raspberry Pi's first keyboard — it released a standard one without a computer built into it last year. I say thankfully because many of those early '80s home computers had absolutely awful keyboards, and producing a practice keyboard should help Raspberry Pi avoid any serious mishaps. Upton tells me the company's approach was inspired by how PC manufacturer Acorn Computers used its standalone keyboard as a basis for the Acorn Atom computer.

In fact, Upton says that keen-eyed observers would have seen hints about the Pi 400's development hidden inside its standalone keyboard, which has a slightly unnecessary amount of empty space inside it where the Pi 400's computer innards now sit. It's not just children learning to code to whom the company wants to sell Pi 400s. It's supposed to help anyone who needs a computer," Upton says. Interestingly, that also includes businesses, with Upton telling me that the company sees the Raspberry Pi 400 being used as corporate desktop machines or for call center agents. Interestingly, that's one of the reasons why the Raspberry Pi 4 and Pi 400 have two HDMI outputs, because two monitors is the default for a lot of business users.

It may have sounded unrealistic a few years ago to dream of an office filled with ARM-based computers when the processors were largely considered too low-power for anything beyond phones and tablets, but in a year when Apple is starting to switch its Mac computers to the architecture, that future doesn't look so preposterous. Upton calls Apple's upcoming switch a "validation" of ARM's status as a real PC architecture, and he says it's proof that PCs aren't synonymous with x86 processors any more. In the longer term, he says that the change should incentivize more developers to make or optimize their software to run better on ARM, and that whatever happens on macOS is likely to benefit the open-source ecosystem and eventually the Raspberry Pi. That's perfect if you're someone looking to learn to code, but it's still going to be an unfortunate barrier for many Windows and Mac owners who are looking for a simple machine for everyday computer tasks. But with a starting price of $70, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a lot less expensive than even the most budget handsets, and it comes with a keyboard that's big enough to do proper writing on. The Raspberry Pi 400 is available starting today.

Meanwhile, the $70 standalone version is available now in the UK, US, France, and Germany, and it's coming to Italy and Spain next week. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. (Pocket-lint) - Popular micro-PC Raspberry Pi is reinventing itself with a version inside a keyboard. As such, the Raspberry Pi 400 is an all-in-one of sorts inspired by classic one-box-minus-screen computers such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Acorn's BBC Micro (plus Archimedes) and the Commodore Amiga. Some 1980s one-box machines have some heritage with the Pi in terms of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Cambridge, UK headquarters. Plus, Cambridge-based Acorn first developed ARM tech which was spun off before developing into the processors we use every day in our phones. The Raspberry Pi 400 is based on the 4GB Raspberry Pi 4 announced back in June 2019 and is available for $70 on its own or $100 as a kit with mouse, USB-C power supply, SD card with Raspberry Pi OS pre-installed and a micro HDMI to HDMI cable. The Foundation says the Pi 400 will support English (UK and US), French, Italian, German, and Spanish keyboard layouts initially, with others to come., The Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 are pretty powerful machines - which can support dual 4K displays at 30fps or a single display at 60fps. The latest Raspberry Pi computer has been revealed – and it is just a keyboard. The British company famous for making cheap and basic computers has revealed its latest device, which puts the chips and other components required to power the computer into the keyboard that it is used to type with. Customers can spend $100 or £95 to get everything they need, including a USB mouse and the cables required to connect it to a display and power. The device has been made amid a rise in the use of Raspberry Pi devices in people's homes during the pandemic, with students and other people who are finding themselves in need of a computer to study and work remotely, the company said. That computer is 40 times more powerful than the original Raspberry Pi, the company said. Though it was very cheap, its form factor was not especially user friendly, since users were required to assemble the cables and other hardware themselves for it to be able to work. The Raspberry Pi 400 was aimed at saving those problems, the company's founder Eben Upton said in a blog post announcing the new device. "Classic home computers – BBC Micros, ZX Spectrums, Commodore Amigas, and the rest – integrated the motherboard directly into the keyboard," he wrote. Just a computer, a power supply, a monitor cable, and (sometimes) a mouse." Devices will arrive in Italy, Germany and Spain from the next week, the company said, and it expected them to get to India, Australia and New Zealand by the end of the year.