The Raspberry Pi model B has engineered a small revolution in education and home enthusiast computing but could it also be put to work as a usable home office system?

German-based project Pi Vessel has launched itself on Kickstarter with just that ambition with ‘plug it in and run it’ design philosophy that doesn’t ask the user to buy any extras to get the system up and running.

The Pi Vessel doesn’t aim to innovate in the software, selling itself as a $140 home computer capable of operating as a home office, Internet browsing mainstay, wrapped up in a custom aluminium case strong enough to take a hammer to - literally.

Even the software is stock Raspbian although users do get an 8GB SD card.  Its designers believe it could also be used as a cheap portable alternative to hauling around more expensive laptops.

There have been numerous forks of the Raspberry Pi idea, usually by adding more power and expense, few of which have got anywhere. The few that have found some purchase – the Kano education computer is a good example – have essentially built a bespoke software proposition around the Raspberry Pi platform.

So is there room for something that is basically a standard Raspberry Pi model B or B+ in a better case? The biggest competition here are probably Chromebox computers (admittedly not available in all countries) that pack in more RAM, a larger SSD and a more powerful Intel Celeron processor.  They cost closer to $200 but offer PC-like performance that any Raspberry Pi will currently be unable to match.

Anyone still intrigued in the stripped-down model of computing might still want to give the team’s Kickstarter page a visit.

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