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.