My Thoughts on the Pi-top


A finalized 3d printed prototype has been released, and in about a week as of the time of this writing will go
up on indigo go to get funding. This excites me and I hope they have a great deal of success.

Some people, a lot actually, might see this and go 'This is stupid, the raspberry pi is massively underpowered for being able to be anyone's primary computer.' I personally agree that expecting a raspberry pi to do as well as a $500+ laptop, or even a modern tablet for the web is stupid and you are expecting too much out of the platform. However that is looking at it wrong. This is a laptop case with connectors that not only the raspberry pi can use, but also anything that is being made that is of the similar form factor such as the banana pi. This ties into an idea I had when the compute module was announced for a hardware shell where you just pull the computer/unit and replace instead of needing to buy shell, monitor, and all. I like the idea of simply replacing single pieces rather than the whole being obsolete whether it's the pi, LCD, or drop a new battery in.

For me the best use of this, and what it seems to be geared for, is to drop your pi in, code up whatever, slide the window plate back to pull the unit, and drop into whatever robot/home theatre/automation/whatever you have in mind. Alternatively it would let you pull a pi from a thing that is having problems, and review code, hardware, and so on. Alternatively to that sort of application or 'Billy's first computer' where if something breaks it looks like you can just replace, or if the case cracks go print a new case. More interesting to me is the idea of using this in a class setting to let students carry the pi home and leave the expensiv(ish) shell at school because unlike an iDevice it's relatively cheap per unit, and in theory at the end of the school year you could allow students to take it home after having paid in at the start of the year or just as part of the school budget.

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