Turn The Raspberry Pi Microcomputer Into A Low-Cost Laptop With This Atrix Dock Hack


The $ 35/$ 25 Raspberry Pi microcomputer is being used by hardware hackers to power all sorts of creative projects. Including, in the above instance, a Raspberry Pi powered laptop, created by developer Eric Chou — principally by tying in the Motorola Atrix laptop dock. Which surely must be the coolest use of that piece of kit to date.

The smartphone that the dock was intended to be hooked up to has since been discontinued but as Adafruit Industries points out in the below ‘how to’ video, the laptop dock can still be picked up via various online outlets. Its Micro USB and Micro HDMI jacks offer a neat, relatively straightforward way to turn a Pi into a laptop. Adafruit’s video shows which connectors to get and how to splice them together to plug in the Pi and get the DIY laptop working.

Chou, meanwhile, has costed out his version of the Pi laptop hack — including an optional Airlink WiFi module. In total the components costs around $ 125, plus the cost of the Pi — making it cheaper overall than the build costs of the XO ‘One laptop per child’ laptop (the XO apparently costs around $ 200 to make). It’s also a lot more accessible to individuals and small groups, being as the latter machine has to be ordered by the thousand so is generally restricted to government-backed mass education projects. Go the Pi-powered DIY route and so long as you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do a little hacking, much smaller batches of low-cost laptops can be put together and put to work where they’re really needed.

The Raspberry Pi’s potential as a low-cost computing platform for developing countries is pretty exciting. Pis are already being used to power a school computing lab in rural Cameroon, thanks to a Belgian volunteer project which involved a suitcase full of the microcomputers being taken out to Africa and set up with monitors and keyboards acquired locally. It’s a great fixed-location learning solution, but couple in a bit of kit like the Atrix dock and portability could really extend the usefulness of the device.

A Pi-powered laptop wouldn’t need to be tethered to a classroom location, but could be taken home by kids so they can carry on learning (the dock also contains a battery so even without any electricity at home it would offer some hours of use). The not-for-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, which created the Pi with the hope of getting more U.K. kids learning to code, has said it is keen to look for ways to get more Pis out to developing countries this year, where the need for a low-cost computing solution is even greater.

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Lowest Cost Raspberry Pi Microcomputer Now On Sale In The U.S. – $25 Model A Suited For Battery/Solar Powered Projects


The Raspberry Pi microcomputer prides itself on being affordable, with its tiny $ 35 price-tag for the original Model B Pi. But now its lowest cost board — the $ 25 Model A — has gone on sale in the U.S. The Raspberry Pi Foundation confirmed to TechCrunch that Model A can now be purchased in the U.S. via reseller Allied Electronics (which currently appears to have 70 units in stock).

What does $ 25 buy you? Enough processing power to use it to run a home media centre if you so desire, according to the Foundation. But the Model A was conceived with lower power consumption projects in mind, perhaps battery or solar powered, as Model A consumes around a third less power than Model B. It also has half the RAM of the second revision Model B, plus only one USB port and no Ethernet connection — to keep costs down.

Model A sales kicked off in Europe in early February, with Asia coming on stream last week. Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi founder, said today that sales of the Model A Pi have been amounting to “a few thousand a week” thus far.

“We burned through the first 20,000 units quite quickly, and are building a few thousand a week at the moment, but we don’t have good visibility of sell through yet,” he told TechCrunch when asked about early sales data, adding: “I’d expect us to dip in and out of availability for the next month or so until we reach a steady state.”

The Foundation passed  one million Model B sales in January, less than a year after it launched the Pi in March 2012. The microcomputer was conceived as a tool to get kids learning to code – but has also proved popular with the maker community to power all manner of DIY gizmos and gadgets.

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Even More Raspberry Pi Now Made In The U.K. As Largest Distributor Of $35 Microcomputer Shifts All Production To Wales


The Raspberry Pi affordable microcomputer is now almost entirely made in the U.K., after Premier Farnell/element 14 — the largest of the Pi Foundation‘s distributors — announced it has shifted all its production to Sony’s Pencoed factory in Wales.

The company inked a multi-million pound contract with Sony to manufacture Pis last fall but also had two locations in China producing Pis — meaning that around 70% of its Pi production was coming out of the U.K. at the turn of the year. Today, after a “period of transition”, Premier Farnell said the Pencoed factory now accounts for 100% of its Pi output.

“The business stated back in September its intention to bring production of the computer back to its home, the UK, and now after a period of transition we are delighted to announce that all production is in Wales,” said Claire Doyle, Global Head of Raspberry Pi at element14, in a statement.

“We are constantly amazed by the demand for the Raspberry Pi across the world and have done everything we can to ensure we keep our supply chain stocked,” she added. “We believe that a UK creation should be produced in its home country and since partnering with Sony UK Tec we have been delighted with the quality and the commitment they have shown in developing the product.”

There is still some non-U.K. Raspberry Pi production, as the Pi Foundation has another distributor, but Premier Farnell/element 14 is apparently the larger of the two. (The Foundation has previously said it does not disclose exactly how much of the Pi pie each of its licensees accounts for.)

Since the Pi’s launch on 29 February last year, Premier Farnell said it has distributed more than 500,000 Raspberry Pi’s. Back in January, it estimated more than a million Pis had been sold – a considerable bump on the Foundation’s original projections of a few thousand units.

The Foundation has previously produced this short video showing some of the manufacturing processes taking place at the Pencoed Pi factory:

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