The Next Thing unveils $9 computer, CHIP

People may soon be able to buy a computer with a $20 bill and still have change left over for a cup or two of coffee.

Kickstarter raises more than $220,000 one day after launch

People may soon be able to buy a computer with a $20 bill and still have change left over for a cup or two of coffee.

An Oakland, Calif.-based company has unveiled its $9 CHIP computer on Kickstarter.

CHIP, which is about as tall as a AA-battery and smaller than a floppy disk, packs some power with a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. The device connects to any screen using a composite, VGA or HDMI cable. 

Users can save documents to the computer's storage, surf the web over Wi-Fi or play games with a bluetooth controller. The little computer comes pre-loaded with games and apps, as well as Scratch, a language that teaches the basics of programming.

The company says the computer is intended with everyone in mind. It's "a computer for students, teachers, grandparents, children, artists, makers, hackers and inventors," the company says. They built the device "to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use."

Despite its low cost, consumers will have to pay extra for everything they need to do the work they want on CHIP: a screen and a cord to connect the two, a keyboard and mouse, or a bluetooth controller.

For $49, the company offers CHIP with a device to make the computer portable. PocketCHIP houses CHIP in a device that looks like a smartphone and has a nearly 11 centimetre touchscreen, keyboard and battery that lasts up to five hours.

Next Thing Co. launched the project on Kickstarter Thursday. The only way the company can produce such an inexpensive computer is by purchasing components in large quantities, an employee says in a video posted on the crowdfunding page.

By Friday afternoon the company had well surpassed its original $50,000 US goal. Nearly 5,000 backers had pledged more than $220,000 total for the little computer, the PocketCHIP package or another product bundle.

The company projects they'll start fulfilling orders between September this year and May 2016, depending on what people ordered.

Anyone who pledges $150 will receive an early model of CHIP in September before receiving their actual device later on. People who back the project for $9, ordering only the CHIP, will receive their order in Dec.


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