The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday launched the much-awaited display for its tiny, credit card sized computer. Pi display joins the family of accessories made by the foundation.
The foundation has been working on the display for almost a year now. Back in October 2014 Eben Upton, the co-founder of the foundation teased users with a ‘work-in-progress’ display during an onstage interview with TechCrunch.
It’s an RGB 800×480 display @60fps with 24-bit color and 10 point capacitive touch capabilities. The display has mounting holes at the back so you can easily mount the Pi with it and use the whole thing as one unit. The good news is that it’s using DSI (Display Serial Interface) for connectivity which leaves the only HDMI port on the Pi free for other use – such as connecting to a bigger monitor.
Focus on quality and longevity
There was a reason it took the foundation so long to bring the much needed display to the market. First of all they needed to keep the cost low: keeping the hardware affordable without compromising on quality is one of the Pi Foundation’s primary goals. The foundation worked with manufacturers to ensure that the display reproduces quality images and has longer shelf life.
It’s not some cheap knock-off or repurposed unit. AsGordon Hollingworth, Director of Software at the Pi Foundation put it in a blog post: “Of course lifetime is one of the most important requirements, because if a display only has a lifetime of a few months (or the manufacturer is uninterested in guaranteeing a minimum lifetime), we would have to repeat the whole development cycle once more. So we can’t just buy a display that’s used in your standard iDevice, because it is likely to be cancelled when the iCompany decides to move to another manufacturer!”
Users will have to use the latest OS on their Pi for the display to work flawlessly; if you are running Raspbian just run a system upgrade and connect the display.
Since it’s a touchscreen display, it can be cumbersome to use the native X Display server to interact with the device – using your finger, as a mouse is never that efficient. There is a nifty solution; the foundation is suggesting Kivy, a Python GUI development system that is designed to work on touch based devices. Users can install Kivy on their Pi easily.
Arrival of this display will trigger another revolution using this tiny device as enthusiasts don’t need to strap 3rd party displays to the unit or be restricted to use it in headless mode.
You can order the display for $60 from official partners and the foundation’s Swag store.