Nine dollar PC opens world of possibilities

A Kickstarter project to create a tiny computer costing just $9 (€8) has attracted more than 1 million dollars in funding on Kickstarter. Called Chip, the size and cost of the system opens unlimited potential for where it might end up. It runs a fully-functional operating system, along with open-source applications that include pre-installed photo and audio editing, word processing, web access, and email. It also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity built in.

Designed by Next Thing, a company based in Oakland, California, and Shenzhen, China, the computer was built-in conjunction with Chinese chip manufacturer Allwinner Technology, which specialises in chips for tablets.

Whilst it may not be the most powerful device in the world, it offers a 1 gigahertz processor using an ARM core that contains 512 megabytes of RAM and 4GB of storage, its computing power is equivalent to that of a low-end smart phone.  Which would mean it would be ideal for a range of digital signage applications currently running a gallery of images or a presentation from PowerPoint.

Chip's real influence in the market in the long-term could actually be to bring down the cost of PC hardware substantially.

The computer runs an open source software package consisting of LibreOffice and the Chromium browser, but developers can port other open source software platforms to Chip if they want.

Chip will ship its first batch in September of this year and its second in May 2016.