The $9 CHIP is real computing in a tiny form
From the company that brought us Otto, the gif-capturing camera, comes CHIP, the US$9 computer. Its endowments of 1 gig processing, 4 gig storage, and 512 MB of RAM would only be average, were it not for the price, and the fact that it's ready-to-go despite its svelte stature – small enough to fit on a Post-It note. As with Otto, the company is seeking funding on Kickstarter and is also offering PocketCHIP, an enclosure to turn CHIP into an affordable smart device with touchscreen and keyboard.
One of the most important things to note about CHIP is that it's advertised as ready to go. If you can use a GUI Linux interface (Debian-based), then you can use the pre-installed applications, add peripherals, play games, and compute in a manner you're used to.
In addition to the stats already listed, CHIP comes with a micro USB port, USB, composite headphone/mic port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and is powered by attaching a LiPo battery, DC power, or through the micro USB. All this fits on a board measuring 1.5 in by 2.3 in (40 by 60 mm), which in keeping with the $9 price, isn't encased.
However, Next Thing Co has also designed a cute little case to hold CHIP and add a full keyboard, 4.3-in (10.9-cm) touchscreen, and 3.0-mAH battery – enough for five hours of use. Named PocketCHIP, it resembles an old-school GameBoy in size and adds an interesting way to transition from computing with a full-sized monitor and keyboard to instantly going mobile.
The low price depends on being able to order large quantities of components, and comparing the high number of pledges the CHIP has received with what the company requested, it will certainly be able to do so. Also keeping it low-cost is the decision to use all open-source software. In return, the company will be making CHIP's designs available later as open-source.
Pledges for just the CHIP start at $9, while extras like a battery or video adapters add more, and a pledge of $49 qualifies you to receive a reward of a PocketCHIP case and a CHIP to go in it. The company recently shipped its first batch of Otto cameras and anticipates that should development of the CHIP be successful, those will begin shipping in December, with the cases shipping in May 2016.
Below is Next Thing Co's pitch video for the CHIP.