The world’s cheapest computer also happens to be slimmer than a credit card.
With a pricetag of only $US9, the Chip is a tiny computer that’s capable of browsing the web, editing documents, and playing simple games.
And put in the hands of the hacker/maker crowd, the Chip could quickly end up powering a wide range of small connected devices where portability and cost-effectiveness are key. It’s even cheaper than the $US35 Raspberry Pi, which was introduced in 2012.
The Chip team already smashed its Kickstarter goal of $US50,000, hitting more than $US697,000 in funding at the time of writing with 26 days left in its campaign.
Since the Chip is so tiny and inexpensive, its features are much more limited than what you would get with a more advanced consumer-grade computer.
You’ll need to provide your own display, keyboard, and mouse to attach to the Chip, for example, and many who buy the Chip will likely spend a bit extra to build out its ports (you’ll have to pay extra for an HDMI connection) and include other peripherals to turn the experience into more of what you’d expect from a consumer-ready computer.
On the software side, the Chip ships with Linux as the pre-installed operating system, and includes a host of other pre-installed programs.
There’s LibreOffice for editing documents and spreadsheets, Google Chromium for browsing the web, VLC Media Player for playing video and sound files, and other programs for torrenting, coding, and photo editing, among others. You can also download additional programs and apps as long as you don’t run out of storage.
With a 1Ghz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage, the Chip can’t handle games with heavy graphics, but you’ll be able to play simple classic games. Since the Chip supports Bluetooth, you can connect a video game controller to the computer, too.
The Chip won’t be for everyone, but it’s minuscule price point at least makes it an option for almost everybody. If you’re someone who has gotten used to Mac or Windows, making the jump to an open-source computer could be jarring, but it’s a feasible switch.
For those looking to build their own connected devices, Chip now represents the cheapest way to power those gadgets, and there’s no doubt that this is the crowd the Chip is truly aimed at.
The Chip is scheduled to ship out in December for backers, but there’s a chance that this could change as the production timelines are finalised.
You can pre-order the basic Chip starting at $US9 over at Kickstarter.