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Need a computer but can't afford the high cost? Then you are in luck. That's because a team of brilliant engineers from Oakland-based Next Thing recently unveiled one that costs a mere $9! Called CHIP, the tiny machine is equipped with a fully-functional operating system that includes dozens of open-source applications such as pre-installed word processing, photo and audio editing, web access, and email.
Users can unlock CHIP's talents by connecting the credit-card sized computer to a screen and keyboard via its integrated composite output or by using a simple adapter. Those that prefer to go wireless can make use of the machine's built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. CHIP can be used to play audio, videos, and even games, just not the ones that contain 3D graphics.
For people that prefer a portable solution, there is the PocketCHIP. Equipped with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, standard keyboard, and 5-hour battery life, the pint-sized laptop is small enough to fit inside a pocket. Though not as inexpensive as CHIP, it is still priced at an affordable $49.
Given its amazing capabilities and affordable price, it is not surprising that CHIP has become an overnight sensation even before the first unit has come to market. The company's campaign to raise $50,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter currently has pledges of over $1.9mm, and with three days to go, before it ends, the numbers can only go up.
Though the inventors had suspected that CHIP would be a success with tech-savvy computer programmers and gamers, they had not expected the general public to be so excited. In addition to the demand on Kickstarter, the company has also received numerous inquiries about the computer from teachers, schools, and NGOs in the U.S. and even from as far away as Mozambique. Some enterprising entrepreneurs are even considering using CHIP clusters to build satellites.
This is not the first time Next Thing has made a splash with a unique product. A few years ago, they introduced Otto, a customizable digital camera that attracted a lot of attention. However, it failed in the market primarily due to its hefty $249 price tag. According to the company co-founder Dave Rauchwerk, the camera's most expensive component was the $35 Raspberry Pi computer. So about a year ago, the inventors embarked on a mission to create a cheaper version and CHIP was born.
Though it proved to be Otto's nemesis, the Raspberry Pi, which is about the same size as CHIP, has been extremely popular since it was first launched in 2012. Experts, however, believe that CHIP will be even more coveted. That's because, in addition to superior features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the tiny machine also has a bigger processor and requires no assembly. CHIP's biggest selling point? It costs just $9.00, making it much more affordable than the Raspberry Pi, which retails at $35.
Resources: kickstarter.com, fastcompany.com, networkworld.com