A Computer for How Much?

May 12, 2015 | 00:04
The 1GHz C.H.I.P. is Open Source
The 1GHz C.H.I.P. is Open Source
C.H.I.P. is a complete computer board that costs just 9 Bucks! Launched on Kickstarter the 60 mm by 40 mm card includes a single core 1 GHz Allwinner A13 SoC featuring an ARM-Cortex A8 main processor and a Mali 400 GPU; a system that is already the basis of many generic low-cost tablets and single-board computers from the Far East. The system provides 512 MB of DDR3 RAM with 4 GB NAND Flash storage. The built-in display output supports composite video while additional expansion boards are available to provide either VGA or HDMI signals. Included on board is a Realtek 2-in-1 Bluetooth 4.0 plus WiFi B/G/N plus I2C, SPI, UART and eight GPIOs, Camera sensor support (MIPI-CSI), native 4.3 – 8ʺ LCD support and built-in battery management support for an external LiPo.

C.H.I.P can run mainline Linux and comes preinstalled with dozens of useful applications, tools and games. It can also run lots of free applications from the open source community.

How is it possible to cobble together a system this good for so little cash? The answer is all about quantity and really demonstrates the benefits of crowdfunding. A conventional business strategy needs an estimate of product demand before unit costs are arrived at. Estimate too low, the product may be too expensive to sell; estimate too high and you could be left with lots of stock that you can’t give away. Crowdfunding turns this on its head, who knows, if your pitch arouses so much interest you may be able to lower production costs even more and cut the unit price further.

With some time left before the Kickstarter campaign ends I think the team at Next Thing Co. must be reeling from the massive reaction they have provoked so far; the original $50,000 target was busted a long time ago and funding stands at over two million dollars and counting!
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