It looks like a keyboard — and it is. But it’s also a computer.
Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the Raspberry Pi 400, a complete $US70 ($99) PC that’s built into a compact keyboard. It takes its inspiration from home computers from the 1980s, like the BBC Micros, ZX Spectrums, and Commodore Amigas.
As for specs, the Raspberry Pi 400 is pretty impressive for the price. It’s powered by a 1.8 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 and 4 GB of RAM. It’ll also support both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz 802.11 b/g/n/ac wifi, gigabit ethernet, and Bluetooth 5.0 and BLE. For ports, you get two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port, a microSD slot for storage or operating system, two micro HDMI ports that support up to 4K at 60 Hz, and a 40-pin GPIO header. Depending on the region, the Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard will either feature 78 or 79 keys, and at launch it will be available in U.S. and U.K. English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. It’s basically a slightly souped-up version of the Raspberry Pi 4 but in a more ready-to-go form factor.
User-friendliness is definitely the name of the game here, with the Raspberry Pi Foundation describing it as a “Christmas morning” product that you can easily plug into a TV or monitor right out of the box. Unlike some other Raspberry Pi products, this is a more “finished” product than a DIY project that requires a little elbow grease to get going.
That ease of use and affordability makes this pretty nifty, especially since the shortage of affordable laptops has been a major problem as more students turn to remote learning. Considering that the Pi 400 is both plug-and-play and portable, this is a neat option for students who might be having a hard time getting their hands on a PC. That said, the Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton told the Verge that he also envisions the Pi 400 as a viable option for businesses and call centres.
The Pi 400 is available starting today. You can either get the Pi 400 alone for $US70 ($99) and use your own peripherals, or you can buy it as part of a $US100 ($142) kit that includes the computer, a USB mouse, USB-C power supply, micro HDMI to HDMI cable, an SD card with Raspberry Pi OS pre-installed, and the company’s official guidebook for beginner users. In any case, it’s still cheaper than most budget computers and phones out there.