Monday, May 11, 2015

An even cheaper computer

The world's cheapest PC, The "CHIP" by The Next Thing, will start at $9 undercutting its nearest competition by 75%. It's not available yet. In fact the Kickstarter hasn't even closed (they're at 13X their target funding level with a month to go.) If they can do it, this could be the next Raspberry Pi.

The CHIP is very small (1.5" X 2.5") and includes a 1GHz processor, 0.5G RAM, 4G storage, WiFi/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4. For the geeks and makers: it includes ports for I2C/SPI, PWM, MIPI-CSI, UART, touch panel input, 8 general purpose I/O ports and onboard TFT LCD support - making it a great Internet of Things platform as well as a very cheap workstation platform.

It'll work with analog, VGI and HDMI monitors, a Bluetooth (or USB) keyboard and mouse. It comes with a version of Debian Linux so you can run lots of popular open-source software (like LibreOffice, Chromium browser, etc.)

"Kernel hacker" Alpha versions are scheduled to be out this fall and kickstarter premium units in early 2016. (You can bet I'll be playing with one in January.)

Here's a link to a video from Make that describes it in more detail: 

These things are getting to the price where you can start including them in really mundane devices, like light switches, process monitoring sensors and video security cameras.

The biggest challenge with these devices will be keeping them up-to-date and secure. 

Are there parts of your home or business where these ultra cheap computers might add value?

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