pi-top launches number [4] on Kickstarter with a Raspberry Pi inside – check out the Earlybird offers quickly!

London-based pi-top have just launched the pi-top[4] on Kickstarter. Pitched as a ‘go anywhere’ computer, the [4] has the newly-released Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB version) built in. The key feature is the plastic case that surrounds the Pi and gives some buttons and a small OLED screen and onto it you can attach the ‘Foundation plate’ which allows you to expand the capabilities of the device.

The pi-top[4] pledges come in different flavours: the bare pi-top[4] “brick” (sorry, but it is a bit of a brick, a very high-functioning one, though!) itself, with an accompanying 11.6″ full HD screen (with touch capability) plus keyboard and with a robotics kit (the “AVK”). I won’t go into all the prices, but they’re about where they should be, thinking of their other products.

They appear to be making an effort to, once again, create their own “ecosystem”. This takes the form of the Foundation plate and their “component modules”. These vary from ultrasonic sensors to LEDs, potentiometers to light sensors. They seem to be all magnetic, so no soldering and easy-to-connect is the thing, here. They do, helpfully, provide a couple of male-to-male 40-pin headers so you can plug that into the GPIO pins, which are broken out to a female header on top of the case, and, presumably, use standard HATs with the Pi.

The screen, in particular, is very interesting as it provides a pi-topCEED-like desktop experience. The pity is that there is no screen-only option on the Kickstarter. I believe adding this would prove to be extremely popular, especially for those who already have a Pi 4 and are seeking to get a portable screen. They’ve done a very wise thing – you can just plug the pi-top[4] into the screen on the kickstand via the bespoke connector or you can plug in via an HDMI cable, allowing you to bring the Pi to the front of the screen for physical computing.

The robotics kit (AVK) looks very impressive – the pi-top[4] plugs into it using it’s bespoke connector and then you can build the robot in several different configurations.

Interestingly, they are pitching the pi-top[4] as being “portable” and, as such, it has an internal battery. This seems a bit strange as the Pi 4 is the most power-hungry of all the Raspberry Pis. Still, the Pi 4 being the newest, I can see why they went for it above a different model.

Overall, I think the pi-top[4] is an exciting product for the Pi community. I think it will find its place and, with the accessories that come with it, it’s clearly looking to build a flexible ecosystem. They have a modest $100k goal on Kickstarter, which I expect them to smash. Here’s hoping they allow people to buy the screen/keyboard on its own!

Take a look at the Kickstarter here.

Here’s a video review from Josh:

 

4 comments for “pi-top launches number [4] on Kickstarter with a Raspberry Pi inside – check out the Earlybird offers quickly!

  1. Brian Williams
    9 July 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I got a CEED and they screwed me. They give ZERO support, the hub is not defined, there is no attempt at open source hardware, and the STL of the case has STILL not appeared. They’ve got more chance of seeing God that suckering me again.

    • Bonzadog
      10 July 2019 at 9:42 am

      @Brian Williams: Are these people who make pi[4] , CEED?

      Seems a trifle expensive but not out of financial range.

      But looks like a really good thing to have. It would be a super interface for an autonomous robot project I have in mind.

      16GB SD is OK but 32GB would be better.
      I will also try out a 64GB stick ( because I have one) on the RPI4.
      Booting is now standard from a stick.

    • Michael Horne
      10 July 2019 at 3:35 pm

      A company has no requirement to make their designs open source, or available. However, their support is notoriously patchy, I agree.

      • Bonzadog
        10 July 2019 at 4:24 pm

        Support is very important … patchy support is not good enough.
        Bad support reflects negatively on any company…..I think I will wait with my purchase.

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