You can’t get much for $9. Or can you?
C.H.I.P. is a tiny computer with a tiny price tag. It allows students, teachers, grandparents, children, artists, makers, hackers, and inventors to save documents, surf the Web, play games, and do other computer-y things—all for $9.
About the size of four AAA batteries, the machine runs a 1GHz processor, and includes 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Attach a keyboard, mouse, or game controller for more functionality, or connect to a monitor via an adapter for VGA or HDMI cables.
From California-based Next Thing Co., makers of the OTTO hackable GIF camera, C.H.I.P. is crowd-funding on Kickstarter. It soared past its goal of $50,000, earning an impressive $653,000-plus from almost 12,950 backers in its first week.
For $9, supporters can get their own computer, expected to ship in December or January. An additional $10 will get you a 3,000mAh 3.7V LiPo battery pack, or the VGA adapter; an HDMI adapter will cost a total of $24.
Take C.H.I.P. on the go with the portable PocketC.H.I.P., complete with a 4.3-inch touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, and five-hour battery; the machine and accessory together cost $49.
A one-time donation of $93 includes the whole nine yardstwo C.H.I.P.s, PocketC.H.I.P., VGA adapter, HDMI adapter, and battery, all expected to ship next spring (or in a split shipment between December and May).
Connect the computer to your home or work monitor to edit spreadsheets, create word documents, and craft presentations in LibreOffice; use the Chromium browser to surf the Web; and play thousands of retro and modern games.
The miniature machine also comes pre-loaded with learn-to-code program Scratch, and allows users to connect a MIDI keyboard and speakers to jam out.
“C.H.I.P. is built to be flexible,” the team wrote. Whether you’re building a clock that counts down to the next bus at your stop, or setting up hundreds of solar-powered air-quality sensors for use in disaster relief, you’ll need the same basic tools.
“With C.H.I.P., all the groundwork is laid,” the campaign said, “and the only question is what you’ll do next.”
Interested backers still have 26 days to join the $9 computer movement, which may give the $35 Raspberry Pi 2 a run for its money.