Californian Tech start-up Next Thing is seeking funding to take to market its CHIP computer, which costs just $9 (£6) in its most basic form. Launched through a Kickstarter campaign on 7 May 2015, the project quickly provoked interest and has already exceeded its $50,000 funding goal. (At the time of writing, backers have pledged over $1m.) According to Next Thing, the CHIP is "built for work, play, and everything in between."
The first versions will contain a 1 GHz processor, 512MB of Ram and 4GB of onboard storage. Graphics will be delivered on the same platform used for most Android phones, connecting to monitors and displays through standard basic connectors.
Prototype CHIP computers are due to be available to backers in December this year, though some are likely to be made available to certain core backers as early as September.
The CHIP, excepted to be launched in 2016, shares many of its technical aspects with the Raspberry Pi, but it represents a developmental step forward, as it has networking capabilities such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 that are not available on the standard Raspberry, which will make it a strong rival to the Pi.
However, while the basic model is advertised, to much acclaim, as being the first computer on sale for less than $10, the low price tag covers only the basic board, and experts anticipate that a handheld version, made more workable with necessary add-ons, will retail for approximately $49. Whether the CHIP proves more popular than the Pi will depend on more than price, as comparison of technical specifications will be consumers' primary concern. CHIP has a better processor than Pi, and offers integral storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which the Pi does not have. However, while delivering a device with these added features, reductions in cost and size have been achieved by compromising in other areas, such as quality of graphics, and only one USB port.
Chip also has a portable peripheral add-on called the Pocket Chip. The device includes a 4.3-inch touchscreen, keyboard, and battery. However, at $40, this device is another add-on which erodes the big talking point of the CJIP- its low cost.