Apple’s fascinating eMate 300 dud gets a makeover as a Raspberry Pi

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eMate
If you had done this in 1997 it would have blown people's minds.
Screenshot: Billy The Kid/YouTube

The eMate 300, one of the most fascinating forgotten Apple products of the late 1990s, has received a second life as a Raspberry Pi laptop.

The personal data assistant, which Apple sold for less than a year between 1997 and 1998, was a sales dud at the time of its release. However, with its Jony Ive-designed curvaceous clamshell made out of translucent green plastic, it resembled the later iMac G3 and iBook computers that helped reestablish Apple as a computer manufacturer of note.

That makes it a machine worth celebrating. Now, thanks to the efforts of a YouTuber named Billy The Kid, it’s also a machine capable of running YouTube videos. Check out the video below.

To be clear, this is no mere software installation job. Billy The Kid took his busted $65 eMate 300 (they cost $799 when they launched) and added a Raspberry Pi, new battery, replacement power supply, 7-inch Osoyoo Display, PAM8406 Amplifier boards, and assorted other components. The total refurbish, as he notes, cost $426.05 — without counting wire, solder, and etching fluid. It also took him a full two days to do.

If you’re looking for a cheap portable device for watching videos, you’ve got plenty of more efficient, better options. Especially since, even with its upgrades, this is still, at heart, a 1997 portable — with 1997 portable speakers. Nonetheless, I love when Apple fans find ways to repurpose old tech. That could be turning an old G4 Cube into a fish tank. It could be hacking an iPod Classic so it can stream Spotify. Or it could be turning a vintage eMate 300 into a Raspberry Pi. It’s a great way of breathing new life into forgotten tech. Well done, Billy The Kid!

Have you ever taken a go at modifying an old piece of Apple tech? What was it, and how successful was the project? Did you own an eMate 300 back in the day? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.

Via: The Register