The Raspberry Pi is a tiny, low-power, low-cost computer that sells for around $35. But while that price gets you a processor, memory, and a few ports you need to supply the display, input device, and even operating system yourself.

What’s made the Raspberry Pi special though, has been the community of hardware and software developers that have found interesting ways to use the little PC since it first launched in 2012.

Folks have used it to build robots, cameras, phones, portable game consoles, and even tiny notebooks. Soon the developers of the Raspberry Pi will make it a lot easier to build your own tablet out of a Raspberry Pi.

pi pad

Founder Eben Upton showed off an upcoming display accessory at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

It’s a 7 inch VGA display with a capacitive touch panel, and it’s designed to be connected to a Raspberry Pi mini-computer.

You could use it to build a tablet… but it’d be a rather thick tablet. But you could also use the touchscreen display to build other types of devices where size isn’t as important. It could serve as a camera viewfinder, a virtual keyboard, or some other component of one of those game consoles, cameras, or other devices mentioned above.

TechCrunch reports the display accessory should be available by the end of the year.


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7 replies on “Raspberry Pi display accessory will let you build a DIY “Pi Pad””

  1. Seeing as entire tablets with better than VGA capability (and better than Pi computing power, a battery, WiFi, etc) turn up on on a regular basis for $50 or less, new in the box, really wondering how they plan on pricing this accessory. Interesting that they didn’t even drop a hint as to pricing.

  2. Here’s the back story on this:

    RPi was initially (and stupidly) released without a legacy VGA header even though it could have been added at negligible cost. Then the RPi foundation staunchly defended this decision, even while touting the RPi as a “teaching” computer for the world – where VGA displays are still widely used (especially by the poor. I know, I live in the developing world.)

    Then the Model-B+ was released with the same SoC but more I/O pins broken-out, but STILL no VGA header (repeat dumb move). But now with the B+, third parties could add a near zero cost resistive VGA A/D converter and now you could connect a VGA display. In no time you started to see people carrying their RPi’s to places with VGA monitors and sharing them with others. Also you also started to see small VGA capable LCD displays being connected to the B+.

    And now the RPi Foundation founder pops up with a VGA LCD display product of his own – and STILL no announcement of plans to provide a VGA header on-board. Is this arrogance, stupidity, or both?.

  3. Wonder if one can build a PI compatible board with a beefier SOC.

    Also, how about a 4 or 5 inch option?

    1. @digi_owl oh there’s plenty out there!

      If you want form-factor compatible, the best performance I’ve found is from the HummingBoard series from, you have a SoC module that docks with a Raspberry Pi form factor carrier board, you can piece together a system that gives you a 1 GHz Quad Core ARM9 SoC with 2GB RAM, decent graphics, gigabit networking, 11n WiFi, BT 4.0, mSATA 2.0, half-sized mini-PCIe 2.0, eMMC, infrared etc, all of these in addition to the standard Pi features 🙂

      if you’re not bothered about the form factor but similar footprint, the Odroid-XU3 from would provide similar features to the HummingBoard, but with a Samsung Exynos 5422 Octa Core SoC (4 x A15 cores running at 2.0 GHz + 4 x A7 cores), blisteringly fast eMMC 5.0 with 16 / 32 / 64 GB options and USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0.

      Better products are being designed and released all the time, just gotta keep your eyes open 🙂

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