The team that created the GameShell retro handheld console a few years ago is back again with a new, lust-inducing machine, the DevTerm. The all-in-one device is touted as an open source terminal for developers but has more than a few tricks under the hood that may appeal to a wider range of users.
Like the GameShell, the DevTerm is a modular computing platform. What that means is that you assemble it yourself (no soldering required) but it also means that it is upgradable and configurable to your needs.
You have your choice of a number of mainboard memory and CPU configurations using either Clockwork Pi’s own board or a vanilla Raspberry Pi Compute 3 module (which may also support the new Compute 4 but that hasn’t been confirmed yet). There are also some options for the back shell of the device which can either be retro gray or transparent.
The internal batteries are handled by replaceable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion batteries (larger than AAs)…which may even be hot swappable (although system stability could be affected according to the website). Unfortunately, the batteries aren’t included as it would complicate shipping due to their capacities. Fortunately, they are readily available online.
Essentially this is an ultra portable Raspberry Pi computing platform that appears to be inspired by early ‘laptops’ (using that term loosely) such as the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 which I still own to this day:
An interesting inclusion is the old school thermal printer that plugs into the top right of the device. Also intriguing is the ‘65% keyboard’ with additional buttons (A/B/X/Y on the right and a set of arrow keys on the left) that are perfectly placed above the keyboard to allow for retro game play on this not-so-small device. There is a mini-trackball at the top and three mouse buttons below the small space bar. It looks fairly cramped and small to use but much better than keyboards we’ve seen before like on the (now defunct) Pocket C.H.I.P. with it’s little bubble buttons.
The display is a 6.8″ IPS screen in a double wide 4:3 aspect ratio. Extra widescreen to work on code or watch videos with.
As with other Raspberry Pi variants, there is a host of free and open source software that will run on this platform for just about any use case you can imagine. It will be interesting to see what OS configuration Clockwork ships with the device and how customized it is for use with the DevTerm.
While not an actual crowdfunding campaign, Clockwork Pi is taking pre-orders now and expecting to ship the DevTerm on or before April 2021 with free worldwide shipping. Units start at $219US.
I’m really looking forward to seeing this device come to market and what people do with it.