The DevTerm is a new portable computer with a very old aesthetic. Designed to look like an old school portable terminal, this modular, open source computer features a 6.8 inch, 1280 x 480 pixel IPS display, a keyboard, and battery module plus an optional built-in thermal printer.
Under the hood is a ClockworkPi v3.14 mainboard with a slot for a computer-on-a-module. So far the system is designed to support five different modules, with specs ranging from 1GB of RAM and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor to 4GB of RAM and a hexa-core chip with Cortex-A72 and Cortex-A53 cores. But more could be added in the future.
The DevTerm is up for pre-order for $219 and up, with the most affordable model powered by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, while other versions feature custom modules from ClockWork.
The company expects to begin shipping the DevTerm to customers in July.
If ClockWork sounds familiar, that’s because this is the same company that makes the GameShell handheld game console I tested a few years ago. While that system was designed for gaming and this new device is more of a productivity/programming machine, the basic idea is similar: open hardware with a modular design.
The company has published schematics and design materials at the GitHub page for the project under a GPL v3 license.
In addition to the compute module, the mainboard features USB-A, USB-C, micro HDMI, and 3.5mm audio ports, GPIO pins, and connectors for the screen, keyboard, and battery as well as a connector an “Ext. Module” board that features speakers, a fan interface, camera interface, and additional ports.
Theoretically a DIY or third-party board could also add features like cellular modems, or sensors. And ClockworkPi says it’s also evaluating additional CPU architectures, so it’s possible that you may eventually be able to use compute modules with RISC-V, x86, or FPGA+ARM architecture with the DevTerm.
The DevTerm’s keyboard features 67 keys with a mini trackball (instead of a touchpad) in the top row and three mouse click buttons below the space bar. With X,Y,B, and A buttons on the right side, and direction arrows on the left, the DevTerm could also be used for some retro gaming.
The original plan had been to begin shipping in April, but the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on production, which has caused the ship date to slip by a few months. Now the developers say customers should begin receiving their DevTerm hardware by mid-July.
The good news is that production seems to be underway, as the founder of ClockworkPi recently posted a set of images showing a fully assembled and functional DevTerm.
— Hal (@Hal_clockwork) June 9, 2021
va @Hal_clockwork, and thanks for the tip Jonathan!
This article was originally published Nov 20, 2020 and last updated June 14, 2021.