First there was Raspberry Pi, likely the cheapest and yes, not very powerful, micro computer. Now there is the C.H.I.P. and the Linux micro PC may very well push Raspberry Pi way back on the shelves and grab big attention from coders, developers and geeks seeking a pretty cost-effective computing block for under $10.
That's about one quarter of what Raspberry Pi costs and it's boasting a bit more than what Raspberry Pi offers in terms of RAM and power. Heck it's got more ports than the MacBook. Two ports to be exact for VGA and HDMI monitors.
The mini computer, which its creator, the Next Thing Company, is hoping to get off the ground through a crowd sourcing effort at Kickstarter, lets users play video games, do some word processing and yes, even check email. It features a 1GHz processor, built-in Wi Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a micro-USB and a regular USB and even an audio jack along with 4GB of flash storage.
"Out of the box, C.H.I.P. can connect over composite video, so you can use an old TV or a tiny screen you have," states Dave Rauchwerk, a Next Thing founder, in a video presentation.
Its creators describe C.H.I.P. as a "computer for students, teachers, grandparents, children, artists, makers, hackers, and inventors. Everyone really."
It even comes pre-loaded with Scratch, an entry-level programming language for budding developers to get their hands wet with animation, games and creating gaming stories.
Kickstarter donors who choose to support C.H.I.P. development, with a $49 pledge, get a QWERTY keyboard and housing for the mini PC that boasts a 4.3-inch touchscreen to boot. Next Thing initially aimed to raise $50,000 for the initial production cycle through the fundraising effort that will end come June 6. It's surpassed that goal big time given that 7,532 supporters who have pledged $359,088 as of Saturday.
Is this a perfect stocking stuffer for that budding programmer or what? It's like a new Gameboy device for the teenager who loves all things geek. The company states, C.H.I.P. can run thousands of free applications from the open source community.