For the low price of nine dollars, customers now have the opportunity to purchase an entirely functional computer in the form of the Linux-based C.H.I.P.
In June of 2015, over 39,000 people chose to pledge over two million dollars in support of C.H.I.P., a product which would cost only nine dollars, and yet allow users the opportunity to own a functional personal computer. In the ten months since this initial success, C.H.I.P. has seen a huge spike in popularity, as well as the introduction of several new products and accessories that allow for more options and possibilities for users of the product.
Despite its low cost, C.H.I.P. has rather impressive specifications. It contains a 1GHz R8 processor, 4 GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth functions. While these specs won’t exactly allow for high-powered modern gaming and 3D modelling, they are more than enough for the amount of use that the average computer user needs. Word processing, data management through spreadsheets, Internet browsing, video watching, and even some gaming are all very possible with C.H.I.P.’s specs.
C.H.I.P. also comes pre-loaded with educational material related to computer science; it contains Scratch, which is a language that is designed to teach users the basics of programming.
In addition to the core product that was funded through Kickstarter, the developers of C.H.I.P. have also offered several add-ons and extensions to the product. The Pocket C.H.I.P. is a way to turn a C.H.I.P. computer into a conveniently portable device. The pocket C.H.I.P. has a 4.3“ touchscreen, built-in keyboard and five-hour battery, all consolidated in a single travel-sized case. This product is available for pre-order for $49, which includes the price of a removable C.H.I.P. computer.
In addition to the Pocket C.H.I.P., the website has an HDMI adapter, a VGA adaptor and a protective storage case for the product to prevent damage. With the purchase of either of the adapters, C.H.I.P. can hook up to almost any display output device, allowing it to function fully as a personal computer that can satisfy the needs that many consumers have from a computer.
C.H.I.P. was developed by California-based start-up company Next Thing Co. The company’s goal was to make a fully open-source affordable computer that is able to easily change and grow in order to meet user needs. They wanted the opportunity to make computer use more accessible, affordable and easy.
The company’s Kickstarter page claims that “we built C.H.I.P. to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use. A huge part of making C.H.I.P. accessible is making sure that it can change to meet the needs of the community. That’s why [it is] totally open source.”
The open source design of C.H.I.P. is being regarded as one of the main things that sets it apart from similar products. Digital Trends presents this open source as one of the definitive things that separates C.H.I.P. from major competitor Raspberry Pi, whose similar (although slightly more expensive) products do not have the focus on being fully open source that Next Thing Co. has.
For anyone interested in giving this nine-dollar computer a try, Next Thing Co. is currently taking pre-orders for the product. The estimated ship date for orders is June 2016, so interested consumers may have to wait a few months before getting to try the computer out. However, there is still the option place orders now for anyone who is interested. The website is also taking orders for the handheld Pocket C.H.I.P., as well as product accessories including the adapters.
For more information about Next Thing Co., C.H.I.P. and other related products, check out getchip.com