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CHIP Is $9 PC That Could Crush Raspberry Pi

In the race to build the world's most affordable computer, Next Thing's CHIP could be the next small thing. Just launched on Kickstarter, CHIP is planned to be a $9 Linux PC that packs a 1-GHz R8 processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage. Unlike the $35 Raspberry Pi, though, this tiny device will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in.

Targeting everyone from tinkerers and early adopters to students and grandparents, the CHIP (which is about one-quarter the size of a banana) is powered by a version of Debian Linux and can run everything from LibreOffice and the Chromium browser to Scratch for learning programming. You can also play games using a Bluetooth controller.

To connect the CHIP to a display, you could use the integrated composite video port or spring for the VGA adapter or HDMI adapter, which respectively add $10 and $15 to the Kickstarter base price of $9.

Those who pledge this Kickstarter project at the $150 Kernel Hacker Level should receive a CHIP by September, but those who pledge just $9 or more won't get their unit until December. The adapters won't be available until May 2016.

Next Thing has also introduced the $49 Pocket CHIP, a handheld computer that the CHIP can plug into, complete with a 4.3-inch resistive color touch screen (470 x 272 pixels), a 3,000 mAH battery and "clickey" keyboard. The device, which is powered by an Allwinner system-on-a-chip, promises 5 hours of battery life.

The Pocket CHIP is not meant to replace a smartphone, but it could bring portable computing to the masses for a very affordable price.

CHIP has already blown past its initial funding goal of $50,000, raising $662,000 with 26 days to go. We hope to get our hands on a CHIP soon to bring you our hands-on impressions.

Mark Spoonauer is the editor in chief at Tom's Guide. Follow him at @mspoonauer. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • icepick314
    it might be "cheap" at $9 but with RCA only connection, you would need VGA adapter at $19 or HDMI adapter at $24...

    so it doesn't look that different from RPi except it has the hardware equivalent of DLC model...
    Reply
  • xenol
    No expandable storage?
    Reply
  • Candre23
    but with RCA only connection, you would need VGA adapter

    For the sort of projects this is intended for, you don't NEED HDMI or VGA. It's meant to run headless or with a cheap composite display, which for a project controller is all you'd need. Having wireless and battery control built in are big pluses for those usages as well.
    Reply
  • PancakePuppy
    For how much better hardware you get in the Raspberry Pi 2, I'm not particularly impressed.
    Reply
  • none12345
    You can already get full on android mini tablets for $50. So why would i want this non standard far less powerful mini for 10 and their add screen on for 50 = 60. No thanks.

    Tho, i do see some point in just the $10 device for the hobbiest crowd. Tho i didnt see anything mentioned about general io pins, and it really needs some for that crowd.
    Reply
  • Lachezar Tsochev
    You can already get full on android mini tablets for $50. So why would i want this non standard far less powerful mini for 10 and their add screen on for 50 = 60. No thanks.

    Tho, i do see some point in just the $10 device for the hobbiest crowd. Tho i didnt see anything mentioned about general io pins, and it really needs some for that crowd.

    Your bootloader is not locked. This 9$ baby has full documentation. If you are interested into that kind of stuff of course.
    Reply
  • Arabian Knight
    I have a better idea .

    get a broken screen old used mobile phone ... 10 times faster for 20$
    Reply
  • Lachezar Tsochev
    15845771 said:
    I have a better idea .

    get a broken screen old used mobile phone ... 10 times faster for 20$

    You'll still have a factory locked bootloader.
    Reply
  • Candre23
    15845771 said:
    I have a better idea .

    get a broken screen old used mobile phone ... 10 times faster for 20$

    So your "better idea" is to pay twice as much for a device which will be limited to an antiquated version of android, has no available GPIO, no serial bus comms, probably no USB host, no video out, and which realistically won't be any faster (and will probably be slower). Great idea.
    Reply
  • Mark Spoonauer
    While Next Thing says it is targeting a wide market, I agree it seems more like a hobbyist device. I wouldn't mind getting one for my kids to get them interested in programming.

    You can already get full on android mini tablets for $50. So why would i want this non standard far less powerful mini for 10 and their add screen on for 50 = 60. No thanks.

    Tho, i do see some point in just the $10 device for the hobbiest crowd. Tho i didnt see anything mentioned about general io pins, and it really needs some for that crowd.
    Reply