For kids who are interesting in learning about computers, mini PCs like the Raspberry Pi are a good pathway into the world of coding, and tinkering in general. That has been the mission of Kano, a startup based in London. Now it is venturing into somewhat new territory, though, with its first build-it-yourself Windows 10 PC.
Kano partnered with Microsoft for this new product offering, and the idea is to introduce kids to the basics of building a Windows 10 PC (Windows 10 S), and using it to write code.
This is a departure for Kano from Raspberry Pi devices, though the company told TechCrunch that they will "remain in the portfolio at good price points." The new Kano PC, however, is "designed for a broader age set" and is based on a x86 Atom processor. Specifically, an Atom x5-Z8350 quad-core processor clocked at 1.44GHz.
The Atom chip is paired with 4GB of DDR3L RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, with a micro SD card slot providing an upgrade path for additional storage. It also features an 11.6-inch touchscreen.
Connectivity consist of dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 (low energy) on the wireless side, along with two USB ports (1x 3.0 and 1x 2.0), an HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microphone. It also comes with a keyboard cover.
"We’re very excited to partner with Kano for the launch of the Kano PC. We align with Kano’s goal of making classroom experiences more inclusive for teachers and students, empowering them to build the future, not just imagine it,” said Anthony Salcito, VP of Education at Microsoft, in a statement.
It looks like a chunky version of Microsoft's Surface, but with a transparent back cover and assembly required. Being modular, some of the parts are replaceable. It looks fairly basic as far as the actual building part goes, and it's not a high-powered PC by any stretch. But for introducing kids to the basics of assembly and getting them interested in the inner workings of a computer, as well as learning to program, the Kano PC is certainly an interesting product.
This also was not an easy item to make a reality. Alex Klein, co-founder and CEO of Kano, told Engadget that this newest offering "is the most complex product development process we've done to date."
Part of that is due to the physical design, which relies on some custom parts, but also the hoops that had to be jumped through in terms of licensing, sourcing, testing, privacy, and parental controls, in order to be a Windows partner.