While smartphones are getting bigger by the day, consumers are now leaning towards compact, portable desktops for their workflow. As a result, we have seen innovative startups come up with unique computer systems in different form factors. Now, we have the “Abacus”, which essentially comes in a computer-in-a-keyboard form factor and is designed to be portable, affordable, and even biodegradable.
The Abacus: Ultra-Compact Computer-in-a-Keyboard
Designed by a young England-based engineer Joon Sang Lee, the Abacus is primarily a combination of a keyboard and a trackpad with which you can magnetically attach a modular computer system to get a full-fledged PC experience.
At first glance, it looks like a version of the Raspberry Pi 400, which also has a computer-in-a-keyboard design. However, unlike the Pi 400, users do not need an external mouse to take advantage of the Abacus as there is already a built-in multi-touch trackpad on board.
Speaking of the internals, the system packs Intel’s X86 quad-core processor and comes pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux and Windows 10 out-of-the-box. It can pack up to 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and up to 128GB of onboard memory to store files. It also features Intel’s 8th-gen HD graphics memory and can output 4K content at 30FPS.
I/O and Connectivity
The Abacus comes packed with 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, a MicroSD slot, an ethernet port, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Connectivity-wise, the device features high-speed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 as well.
So, as you can imagine, it is a pretty powerful device that can easily handle your daily work and is also ultra-portable. You can simply put the entire setup (the detachable computer system and the keyboard-trackpad module) in your backpack or connect it to any monitor or TV to start working right away. Moreover, you can detach the keyboard module from the system to work remotely as the keyboard stays wirelessly connected to the computer module.
Apart from being compact and ultra-portable, the Abacus is also an environment-friendly product. The housings of the modules are composed of a biodegradable thermoplastic that is made from tapioca roots, waste cornstarch, and sugarcane. As a result, the Abacus has a 65% less carbon footprint compared to its contemporaries.
Price and Availability
The Abacus comes with a price tag of £98 (~Rs 8,860) and is currently available on Pentaform’s official website, which is Lee’s startup. Currently, as per the developers, the device is out of stock. However, the team is working to re-stock them. In the meantime, you can pre-order the Abacus computer at a discounted price of £89 (~Rs 8,050).