PiTop, Makers Of Raspberry Pi Laptops, Release Something That’s Not A Laptop

The Raspberry Pi the closest thing to a modular laptop. That’s the idea behind the Pi-Top, a laptop with a Raspberry Pi as a brain. Need an upgrade? No problem, just get the latest Pi, they’re up to four now.

Now the people behind the Pi-Top are releasing what can best be described as a brick of computing. The Pi-Top 4 is a designed as ‘The Sony Walkman for Making’, in which the form factor becomes a building block of anything you can imagine and probably a lot of things you can’t. Inside is a Raspberry Pi 4, a small OLED display, and a few buttons. On the bottom is a detachable ‘foundation plate’ that allows the Pi-Top 4 to connect to sensors, LEDs, and switches. The idea of all this building is that the brick-shaped Pi-Top 4 becomes a building block in anything you can imagine, be that a drone, a humanoid robot, or a portable photo booth. All of this is powered by the Raspberry Pi 4, no slouch when it comes to computational power.

The Pi-Top 4 doesn’t have a release date or a price just yet, but the company says it will be offered on Kickstarter.

35 thoughts on “PiTop, Makers Of Raspberry Pi Laptops, Release Something That’s Not A Laptop

    1. Seriously though. I am not impressed by yet another raspberry pi case, there is literally never a situation in any design I’ve worked on where I thought “gee, this integration of a pi into the frame would be improved if I had only purchased a case for it”.

  1. I like the ad, the aesthetics are good, but it doesn’t show the features of the product itself, just as old console commercials. Nevertheless I liked the overall idea, and hope it works as expected.

  2. It reminds me alot to the LEGO Mindstorm system, so i’m guessing that is a similar system with “blocks” like sensor blocks, button blocks, etc,
    Depending on the price can be a cool begineer kit, it might introduce people to processing and python to play with lights and music.

    1. Except that this does not solved anything more than what is solved already.
      Building blocks? Aren’t pi hats for exactly that?
      Lego mindstorms can bring anyone, at any age, to start programming and tinkering with sensors and actuators. This is nothing more than another yet electronic building block set that doesn’t add nothing to the table.

      I maybe missing something out on this, but I don’t see the point of this.

    1. It’s modular, versus a bare circuit board with bare circuit board hats/shields/capes/[insert every synonym for cover here]. It’s not a bad concept, but it’s already been done. They are just trying to respin something.

  3. I thought avr/arduino did that already? (This guys dream of doing to making what roland did to popmusic). Anyway the pi does exist, adding a plastic box with display will certainly not „build the future“. Wonder who the target for that ad is..

    1. > Wonder who the target for that ad is..
      If you look at the doohickey and think “what is is” and answer yourself with something along the lines of four buttons , a display probably from a phone maybe, plastic case, a few quick plug GPIO extension pins for other stuff they are selling (engineer like thinking) – Then you are not their target market. Their target market according to the video is the “rock star inventor, wherever they maybe”.

    1. Maybe the 80s love will see us given a pi-top kit for a clamshell qwerty palmtop. Then people can quit having to jam rasbpis in hard drive cases and configure bluetooth keyboards as hid.

      Pi-top if you’re listening we want qwerty mids. That one rockstar inventor might buy your box but there’s gotta be at least 30 people who want a hp 200lx with a mechanical keyboard and armlinux. Why you no develop for us :(

  4. the more i look at their overall offerings, the less impressed i am. but still, now that the pi 4 is out, it is competitive with the laptop i’m typing on now. a pi laptop is starting to get a little attractive.

  5. @ Greg A —

    “the more i look at their overall offerings, the less impressed i am…”
    With the coming of the $199.00 ‘Pinebook Plus’, I suspect that the PiTop group is getting somewhat nervous–

    “…a pi laptop is starting to get a little attractive.”
    Maybe; maybe not. Depends on how demanding you are; how critical. Or not.

    $199.00 Pinebook Plus

    64, 128 GB eMMC (SSD)
    14.4“ 1080p IPS display
    4GB DDR4 memory
    1.8 GHz 6-core RK3399
    Magnesium case
    ISO or ANSI keyboard
    Linux, BSD, Android operating systems
    More…

    www(dot)pine64(dot)org(slash)pinebook-pro(slash)

  6. Does anyone else, who actually lived through the 80s, ever just want to shake one of these booger-hooked weirdos and tell them that cultural appropriation is not okay? I get it…the new season of Stranger Things is debuting, and that’s an awful cool spotlight for 80s tech, but maybe try rolling your own personality. Ironically though, at the risk of sounding like I walked uphill both ways…most of the kids trying to relive the 80s couldn’t have survived it. I had teachers say things to me, as a kid, that were waaaaay worse than what gets you banned from social media for bullying these days.

    One of the beat parts of growing up in the 80s was that the kids weren’t total feebs. No one cared about your feelings, except the self esteem dorks and the only people who played with them were a relative or a state employee. No one cared about your safety, except your mom…and if you had a peanut allergy you just accepted that your were destined to die at the hands of my lunch. Seeing kids trying to reboot the 80s in this pusillanimous world is just too much to take. Meh…I’ll be over here making an open-source bullhorn for yelling at kids on my lawn if anyone needs me.

    1. @ chester moore–

      It’s the only thing they know; obviously even the older ones are succumbing to this plague. Hard work, imagination, real social interaction, and personal responsibility–and the demand of absolute reciprocity on the part of everyone else–are nonexistent now; hence the inability to do, or want to do, anything as challenging as designing an original piece of electronics from basic components, or simply getting one of those kids to rake your lawn.

      Most likely not so in this case, but the harsh reality is that the word ‘pusillanimous’ would have to be used in most venues these days rather than its synonyms, or risk being banned by the Social Justice Warriors, irrespective of whether we’re talking about the internet or your local Town Council.

    2. The T-shirt is over the top, another co-opted, cloned, “Unknown Pleasures” rip-off (yes, I’m well aware of the source).
      I wore one too, without any text, but it was 1984 when I was a DJ at KFJC FM, and it was truly esoteric at the time.
      Still have my unused JD ticket for their San Francisco show… R.I.P., I.C..

  7. Lotta hate here… yes, that marketing video sucks, but some of you sound just like the old, crotchety, Ham radio operators who hate on No-code Technicians just because they didn’t have to learn Morse Code to get their FCC License.

    These Modules have a place, they are more “adult” than Lego’s and much “easier” and less intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with building electronic hardware (I designed and etched my first circuit board at home in 1969).

    Yes, it’s a closed Ecosystem right now, but if they take off, others will make their own modules to sell, so this product could very well bring new designers into the the field, so I see it as a good thing.

  8. I’d be very reluctant to purchase something that relies on the current version Pi as the last item they sold the Pi-Top 2 (renamed to Pi-Top (3)) isn’t upgradeable after their sales pitch was that you could just swap out the Pi for the latest version. Maybe spending some time on creating a replacement Pi-Top hub board that will support the Pi 4 would show a commitment to their users rather than putting all their resources into another Pi case which could be out of date in 12 months.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.