Introducing CHIP, a $9 PC that is smaller than the Raspberry Pi
The competition is strong these days and Next Thing Co. has just announced the most affordable computer you can buy. At only $9, the Oakland based startup is offering you hardware which rivals the likes of the oh-so popular Raspberry Pi. Unlike how the Raspberry Pi foundation started with their first model, NTC (Next Thing Co.) built CHIP with the mindset that buyers will want integrate this affordable board onto their projects.
Powering this $9 computer is the Allwinner A13 SoC clocked in at 1GHz and 512MB of DDR3 RAM. Other specifications include a full sized USB port, a composite video out, a microUSB port capable of USB OTG, built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and 4GB of onboard NAND flash storage.
Putting things into perspective, CHIP is actually smaller than the Raspberry Pi A+ which is already a very small board. Both boards feature about the same amount of processing power but NTC's CHIP pulls ahead of the competition with double the amount of RAM and built in wireless connections and onboard storage. But where CHIP loses to the Raspberry Pi is when we compare the GPIO pins available. The 8 GPIO pins on CHIP is nowhere near the 40 GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi A+.
In terms of software, CHIP comes preloaded with Linux and will support Debian based releases. NTC says they'll talk on this further when they are done with the Kickstarter campaign. To top things off, this $9 computer is fully open sourced from the hardware on the board itself to the software releases.
Besides launching CHIP on kickstarter late last week, the company is also announcing a couple of accessories which will expand the capabilities of the board. The first two add ons are the HDMI and VGA shields which connect directly to the pinouts on CHIP and will enable CHIP to display out to higher resolution displays. Ironically, the price of both the shields are more than the board itself. The HDMI shield goes for $15 and the VGA shield is at $10.
Besides that, there is yet another accessory which they will be offering alongside CHIP and that is called Pocket CHIP. As you can see from the image above, it looks like a Gameboy and for $40, you will be able to bring your $9 computer wherever you go. Built in this enclosure is a 4.3" full color resistive display, a 3,000mAh battery and a full QWERTY keyboard.
So, are you blown away by this new single board computer? If you are, do check out their Kickstarter campaign which as of writing has exceeded it's goal by 10 times with nearly 12,000 backers. You can own your own CHIP for only $9 but better be quick, it's a hot cake. To get some insights on the making behind CHIP, check out makezine's interview with the creators.