You don’t need a special case with a new breed of Pi. The keyboard you type on is the special case.
There’s a new type of Raspberry Pi, and it might just be the company’s easiest to work with yet.
Arguably one of the world’s smallest computers for hobbyists and enthusiast programmers to play with, particularly those learning how to code or build hardware, Raspberry Pi has long been one of the concepts to get kids into coding, among other things.
They can get a small and inexpensive computer in its credit card-sized design, build a small computer, add a memory card and power, and then load on a version of Linux and make something with it, be it a small computer or something else entirely, creating ideas with the compact computing concept. We’ve seen arcade systems made from it and even have one ourselves, and even if nothing special is necessarily made from it, the tiny Raspberry Pi computer can be a way for kids to learn about programming in general, using an assortment of resources online to program for what is basically a computing experience they can make complete with a little bit of effort.
But Raspberry Pi might have found a way to make it effortless, or a little more so.
This week, it has launched a new take on the Raspberry Pi 4 from last year that delivers Pi in a case that’s more usable than ever out of the box, throwing all the hardware into a keyboard with the connections on the back.
Essentially, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a computer inside of a keyboard, similar to some of the computers found in the 80s. You might not recall it, but other early computers, such as the Commodore Amiga 1200 and the BBC Micro had the computer inside the keyboard, and Pi’s approach looks very much like a nod to those, placing a new take on the Pi 4 inside of a keyboard.
With the hardware found on the inside of the keyboard, there’s basically no fiddling or building that needs to be done, with the new Raspberry Pi keyboard basically a computer in a box ready to do stuff with.
The back has all the ports, complete with three standard USB Type A ports — you know, the rectangular kind — plus a USB Type C power port to give the keyboard power, and a couple of micro HDMI ports for 4K video out, as well as one Gigabit Ethernet, a microSD slot for the operating system and storage, and then a GPIO header, the hardware port other Raspberry Pi models come with that lets you add external hardware to turn the Pi into something more.
On the computer inside the keyboard, there’s a quad-core chip, 4GB of RAM and no storage — that’s what the microSD slot is for, folks — but you will find 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5, so there’s wireless connectivity sorted, too.
At its core, the Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard computer still isn’t going to be for everyone, but it might just be the fastest hobbiest computer yet to get kids into coding, of which there are definitely so many options these days.
In Australia, we’re seeing pricing for the Raspberry Pi 400 hit as high as $209 and as low as $162, so it might be one of those things you want to shop around with, with release expected in the next few weeks.