ClockworkPi Opens Pre-Orders for the Retrofuturistic DevTerm Cyberdeck Complete with Thermal Printer

An ultra-wide IPS display and 65% keyboard with built-in trackpad dominate this device, which is Raspberry Pi Compute Module compatible.

ClockworkPi, creator of the crowdfunded GameShell Linux-based portable gaming console, has opened pre-orders for what is effectively a developer-focused cyberdeck: the ClockworkPi DevTerm.

Announced three years ago, the GameShell took a modular approach to building an Arm-based portable console mimicking the layout of Nintendo's iconic Game Boy. ClockworkPi's latest, though, is a considerably more original design — complete with compact keyboard, ultra-wide full-color display, and a thermal printer.

"DevTerm is a post-modern, digital minimalist lifestyle," the company claims of its latest creation. "The A5 notebook size integrates complete PC functions with a retrofuturism design, a 6.8-inch ultra-wide screen, classic QWERTY keyboard, necessary interfaces, high-speed wireless, long battery life, and even includes a practical thermal printer."

"No matter where you are, DevTerm brings you a focused and immersive experience, provides you with an 'anywhere door' escape for distraction-free typing and deep thinking."

Like its predecessor, the DevTerm is modular. The mainboard accepts SODIMM form-factor system-on-module (SOM) boards, including the Raspberry Pi Compute Module family up to the Compute Module 3+ — but not the latest Compute Module 4, which abandoned the SODIMM layout. The company has also confirmed plans to produce its own SOMs, ranging from a quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 with 1GB of RAM to a six-core big.LITTLE implementation with two 1.8GHz Arm Cortex-A72 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores backed by 4GB of RAM.

The mainboard connects to an "Ext. Module," which provides two USB ports, dual speaker outputs, a UART port, a MIPI CSI camera interface, a fan which blows air towards the module's processor, and an interface for a thermal printer — a key part of the retrofuturistic design, allowing for single-color printouts on-the-move. ClockworkPi has also released the board's design under the GNU General Public License 3.0, and is hoping to see the community design additional boards including AI accelerators, cellular modems, software defined radios, and even cassette deck interfaces.

The two modules connect to a 16:6 ultra-wide 1280x480 IPS panel for display, and a 65 percent 67-key keyboard with integrated mini trackball and gamepad-like direction pad and fire buttons. Power, meanwhile, is provided by two 18650 batteries — though these are the only part of the kit which are not supplied, and must be purchased separately.

ClockworkPi is looking to build and ship the DevTerm family by April 2021, with pricing starting at $219 for the version powered by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module and rising to $339 for the top-end six-core variant with 4GB of RAM. Full details are available on the website, where pre-orders are open now.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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