Key hardware specs include a 1GHz ARM-based processor and Mali GPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, as well as support for VGA or HDMI displays. Meanwhile, an optional PocketChip shield makes the board portable with a 4.3” touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard and 5-hour battery.
On the software side, Chip runs mainline Linux (Debian) along with standard apps such as LibreOffice, Chromium and Scratch.
“At 1Ghz and with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, Chip is powerful enough to run real software, and handle the demands of a full GUI just as well as it handles attached hardware,” a Next Thing Co. rep writes on the board’s Kickstarter page. “Whether you’re building yourself a wall clock that counts down time to the next bus at your stop, or setting up a network of hundreds of solar-powered air quality sensors for use in disaster relief, you need the same basic tools to start from: a processor, a way to exchange data, and a way to power everything.”
As ReadWrite’s Brian P. Rubin points out, the $9 computers gives Makers more tools than ever before to create the projects of their dreams.
“As technology continues to get smaller and cheaper, even more people will learn to code and hack together their ideas,” he explained.
Image Credit: Makezine
“And at this rate, even a $9 computer may soon seem ridiculously overpriced.”
Makezine’s David Scheltema expressed similar sentiments.
“Both the Chip and Pocket Chip are priced so low it’s difficult to imagine a community not quickly coalescing around them,” he wrote. “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.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, the demand for more memory has only increased over the years. To be sure, DRAM is packed into an increasingly wide range of devices – such as Maker and dev boards, smartphones, tablets and wearables – in addition to traditional PCs and laptops.
“Bolstering onboard memory is a prerequisite to allowing makers a way of creating powerful, highly-functional devices out of SBCs,” confirmed Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus. “Driven by an increased amount of DRAM, a desktop-level experience will allow engineers, Makers and more traditional end-users to take full advantage of the devices.”