Technology 3 min read

Computer Wars: CHIP Opens up a New Front in Tech Strategy

With units already shipping worldwide, the $9 C.H.I.P. microcomputer is re-inspiring computer wars throughout the Nanocomputing field.

Next Thing Co. | kickstarter.com

Next Thing Co. | kickstarter.com

With units already shipping worldwide, newcomer C.H.I.P. is turning up the competition in Nanocomputing.

Computer Wars are so 80’s, right?

Think again.

Computers are becoming increasingly smaller and more affordable, and the microcomputer market is getting competitive.

Raspberry Pi is currently leading the nano-PC revolution, but it’s starting to sweat. It’s about to do battle with a new competitor that’s smaller, cheaper and completely open source: the C.H.I.P. microcomputer.

The project began as a Kickstarter campaign and funded with incredibly rapid success. The Startup behind the concept is Next Thing Co., and says C.H.I.P. is “built for work, play, and everything in between.”

$9 C.H.I.P: How is it Re-initiating Computer Wars?

Like the Raspberry Pi, C.H.I.P. is a single board computer about the size of a credit card and uses a nano-ARM processor.

Unlike the Pi, it costs $9.

Granted the $9 default comes without a screen or keyboard, but it includes everything you needed to run Debian Linux.

But wait, there’s more: aside from its extremely competitive pricing, C.H.I.P. is fully open source.

…and the Specs?

The price is obviously a bargain, and you can run whatever operating system you like. But what about performance?

C.H.I.P.’s specs are just as enticing:

Processing: C.H.I.P. includes an R8 processor produced by Chinese manufacturer Allwinner, and integrates an ARM Cortex-A8 processor that has clocked speeds up to 1GHz. It also comes equipped with an ARM Mali-400 graphics processor.

Memory and Storage: little C.H.I.P. includes 512MB of DDR3 RAM and 4GB of internal flash memory.

Connectivity: the microcomputer comes complete with a Realtek C.H.I.P. that provides Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a / b / g / n.

Power Source: C.H.I.P. can be powered via a battery (a connector comes stock), or via its microUSB port.

Ports: a USB port comes standard along with a composite video output that is compatible with virtually any screen. While C.H.I.P. itself only costs $9, opting for extras like a VGA adapter or HDMI capabilities can push the price up.

Versatility: Pre-installed lightweight distributions (Linux Debian) allow C.H.I.P. to act as an extra computer, video game console or multimedia PC.

C.H.I.P. is sure to take miniaturization to a new level in terms of both size and price. But as far as next generation Computer Wars are concerned, C.H.I.P. really packs a punch with its impressive specs and open source capability.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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