With its catchy slogan, “Lego simple, Raspberry Pi powerful, and hugely fun,” its bright colorful parts, and kid friendly stickers, Kano is an appealing package for those looking for light weight, compact computing for kids or who just want to get their kids started on the Raspberry Pi craze. Kano illustrates its simplicity with lots of videos including one featuring a seven year old putting the kit together.
Kano’s kit includes a Kano instructional book, Kano OS and levels on a 8GB SD card, DIY speaker, Raspberry Pi Model B, Kano keyboard, custom case, cables: HDMI and mini-USB, worldwide power plug, WiFi power up, and Kano card mods, stencils, and stickers to dress up your case. The only item it lacks is a monitor, though Kano’s OS can be run on an iPad using a VNC app for a screen, making Kano truly portable. Kano also comes with coding capability using Kano blocks, a visual drag and drop language modeled after MIT’s Scratch programming. With Kano blocks, kids can create their own Pong game and build within Kano’s Minecraft environment. Kano also touts command line capabilities. However, it’s not clear from Kano’s website, how much of Pi’s other capabilities and accessories can be accessed outside of Kano’s OS.
This article argues whether Raspberry Pi’s quoted $35 price point is actually a low-cost computer solution especially compared to other devices on the market like Chrome books. Kano’s $129 pricing is comparable to the article’s lower cost comparisons (when you start adding the other parts like cables and keyboard to the Pi). I like that Kano’s small keyboard is nice for smaller hands, and with the option of using a VNC app to turn your iPad into a screen, maybe it could be an option that a kid could still get more out of once Kano’s OS and coding options are outgrown. What could be one of its greatest advantages, from what can be seen from its videos, is its appeal to children and getting them interested in computing to begin with.