Raspberry Pi single-board computers (SBCs) are small, affordable, and surprisingly powerful. That makes them ideal for compact projects that need a real computer as opposed to a low-level microcontroller. Tablets are a perfect example of what can be done with a Raspberry Pi. We’ve seen a lot of DIY Raspberry Pi tablets, and even some commercial offerings, but most of those leave something to be desired. The upcoming open source CutiePi tablet, however, looks quite promising.
Most other Raspberry Pi tablets, such as the SunFounder RasPad we reviewed last year, are built around one of the full-size Raspberry Pi models. Those work well because they already have all of the necessary connection ports and you can take out the Raspberry Pi to use in other projects. But those connection ports force the tablets to be fairly thick, and aren’t located in the ideal positions. That’s why the CutiePi tablet is based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3/3+. Raspberry Pi Compute Modules include most of the hardware from the full-size models, but omit the connection ports in order to keep the board has thin as possible. That makes them ideal for use in tablets.
In this case, the CutiePi uses a custom carrier board to make use of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. The CutiePi Board V1.0 adds a temperature sensor, gyroscope, WiFi, Bluetooth, an amplifier, a LiPo power management circuit, and even an STM32 microcontroller. In addition to that hardware, it also contains the various connection ports. Those have been placed in locations that work well for a tablet. That board, along with a custom user interface that runs on top of Raspbian, have already been developed. But the CutiePi team is still working on the final enclosure design. They expect to have the CutiePi tablet ready for release by the end of the year, so be sure to subscribe to development updates on their page.