Cheaper and more powerful than Raspberry Pi “Chip” by Next Thing Co. could be the next revolution in single-board computing.
The board is Open Hardware, runs a flavor of Debian Linux, and boasts a 1Ghz R8 ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC storage. It is more powerful than a Raspberry Pi B+ and equal to the BeagleBone Black in clock speed, RAM, and storage. Differentiating Chip from Beagle is its built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and the ease in which it can be made portable, thanks to circuitry that handles battery operation.
If you’re wondering how Chip could be this inexpensive ?
You can thank cheap Chinese tablets. The System-on-Chip used in the development board is based on an A13 processor by Allwinner, a Shenzhen-based semiconductor company. As recently as 2013, Allwinner was the second largest tablet manufacturer in the world, and the A13 was the most successful processor in Allwinner’s lineup.
The final accessory — and perhaps the most exciting — is Pocket Chip, a portable, handheld enclosure with an LCD screen, full QWERTY keyboard, and internal battery. With this combination, the Pocket Chip is a fully functioning $50 computer — no need for a monitor or keyboard, it is all built-in.
Both the Chip and Pocket Chip are priced so low it’s difficult to imagine a community not quickly coalescing around them. Spend next to zero time wiring a display, keyboard, and battery, and the first moments with the board can be spent making what you want. Bootstrapping is next to abolished.