The Raspberry Pi popularized the idea of the micro-PC with a compact and a very low cost computer. Now a brand new participant, Next Thing‘s CHIP, joins the race to construct the world’s cheapest computer. CHIP is a completely functional Linux-powered computer and is nearly one-quarter the size of a banana and one-quarter the price of the Raspberry Pi. Yes, really it’s just Nine Dollars!
Update 26 Nov 2015: The new cheapest computer in the world crown is taken by the Raspberry Pi Zero. It is for $5 and has similar specs as the C.H.I.P, but it is lacking a flash drive and a BT module. So technically, C.H.I.P might retain the title
To minimize down the price, CHIP packs a 1GHz Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor with a built-in Mali400 GPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage. It additionally encompasses a micro USB port, composite headphone/mic port, Wifi and Bluetooth. All of which is powered by attaching a LiPo battery, DC power, or via the micro USB. The hardware is powerful enough to operate LibreOffice, the Chromium browser, and an entire host of video games and applications to teach programming.
From their website:
“C.H.I.P. does computer things. Work in LibreOffice and save your documents to C.H.I.P.’s on board storage. Surf the net and check your e-mail over WiFi. Play video games with a Bluetooth controller. With dozens of applications and tools preinstalled, C.H.I.P. is able to do computer things the moment you power it on!”
CHIP itself won’t come encased for $9, however Next Thing (also the makers of OTTO) also designed Pocket CHIP, a cute case to hold the CHIP. The $40 device (Kickstarter value) encompasses a full keyboard, 4.3-inch touchscreen and a 3,000-mAh battery which promises 5 hours of battery life.
Pocket CHIP has blown well beyond its preliminary funding goal of $50,000 and raised over two million dollars on Kickstarter. We can’t wait to get our hands on one. Next Thing expects to ship CHIP in December, with the cases and additional adapters arriving in May 2016. Obviously, you’ll have to spend extra cash for the VGA or HDMI adapters or any additional hardware, however we’ll soon be able to purchase a functional computer with a ten dollar bill and get change.