Bare-Bones PC Market Drops To $9


A $9 computer project has been fully funded on Kickstarter. As you’d expect, CHIP is pretty bare-boned, with extra costs for some connections, though a $49 touchscreen version is the most interesting configuration.

The basic edition of CHIP is effectively the circuit board ripped out of a bargain-basement Linux mini-PC. Most of the connections are pins rather than fully-formed sockets, so it seems more suited to hobbyists, though both the user interface and the pre-installed applications, including a Chromium browser, look to be aimed at a more casual audience.

It’s arguably only the lack of input devices that stop it being a fully-functioning ‘computer’ out of the box, and these are at least supported through two USB sockets (one full-size, one micro) and Bluetooth. It has a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of on-board storage, Wi-Fi support, and a composite video output socket. Configuration options include a VGA adapter for $10 extra or an HDMI adapter for $15 extra. You can also choose to buy a battery for $10.

There’s also a pocket version that throws in a case with physical keyboard and touchscreen plus a battery, effectively making it a very cheap (and very low-spec) equivalent of the iPod touch. How successful this will be remains to be seen: in principle it’s wonderful that you can have a working computer in your pocket for fifty bucks, but in practice anyone who already has even a crappy smartphone already has something at least as good as this.


Realistically it’s hard to see many people buying CHIP to use as an everyday computer, whether desktop or portable. Instead it seems more likely it will be something seen as so cheap that’s it’s viable to buy to use as a single purpose device of some kind.

Geeks are Sexy needs YOUR help. Learn more about how YOU can support us here.