The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 distils the power of the Raspberry Pi 4 into a much smaller form factor. But, to use the CM4 we need a carrier board, and SB Component's new crowdfunder is for piPocket, a rather "Google Chromecast" looking carrier board designed to hide away from sight.
PiPocket is designed to hide behind your monitor / TV and give you the power of a Raspberry Pi without all the hanging wires. The unit connects to your screen using a HDMI port. There are two USB A ports for your keyboard, mouse and other USB peripherals. Power and data is provided via a USB C port. By data we have to assume that we can flash the OS to the CM4 buried within.
The piPocket carrier board will work with all models of the CM4 and CM4 Lite (without onboard eMMC). We'd recommend a CM4 with Wi-Fi, otherwise you'll need a USB Wi-Fi dongle. A micro SD card slot means we can easily boot our choice of OS, and this is where the unit becomes interesting. Being a Raspberry Pi means that we can use many different OS for our projects. If we need a desktop computer we can use Raspberry Pi OS or Ubuntu. Media playback via LibreELEC, OSMC etc would be the ideal use for the unit. There is even an InfraRed receiver built into the carrier board. Retro gaming, and Android are all easily available for use with the Raspberry Pi 4.
If you want to tinker with the GPIO, then you have lucked out as piPocket has no visible GPIO breakout on the case. Could there be something on the PCB of the carrier board? We don't know, but guess not.
SB Components are once again funding its latest projects using a Kickstarter and prices start from £40 ($38) for a single unit (CM4 not included), all the way to £120 ($116) for three units. There are also bundles which include a unified keyboard and trackpad. There are some perks which include a CM4, a board which has seen fluctuating stock levels.
Remember that crowdfunding a project is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment; you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".