CHIP, the $9 computer, is shipping

CHIP, the $9 computer, is shipping

The $9 CHIP computer is shipping. According to Dave Rauchwerk, CEO of Next Thing Co., single units will go out to early backers in 5 to 9 days; additional orders will arrive in December. But if you backed the project at the Kernel Hacker Backer level on Kickstarter, you will receive two CHIP computers — the second by mid-October.

The CHIP is an innovative open hardware project, with open source software. The board’s spec is a 1GHz R8 ARM processor with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of NAND storage, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in. With these specs, its $9 price makes it one of the best computing platform deals we’ve ever seen.

Time to flash this CHIP

Time to flash this CHIP

This two-board windfall for early backers is thanks to Rauchwerk’s desire to test his supply chain by using different fulfillment methods. When pressed for more details on the decision to double his board delivery to kernel hacker backers, he exclaimed, “It’s only $9!”

For Linux single board computer geeks (like me), the announcement that CHIP is shipping is about the most exciting news out of MakerCon. I caught up with Dave Rauchwerk, Next Thing Co. CEO, to chat more about shipping and what else the the company is up to:

In addition to delivering on time — a rarity in the world of crowdfunded hardware — there’s actual documentation available, including eight “getting started with” tutorials covering topics ranging from flashing the board to setting up Bluetooth. (The first version of alpha CHIPS require users to flash the board, a straightforward procedure that is well documented.)

Currently the image on the board is a mainline Linux Buildroot, but since it is all open source, it is likely other distribution options will become available as soon as more people get their hands on the boards.

CHIP alpha unit running Debian 8 at MakerCon

CHIP alpha unit running Debian 8 at MakerCon

We will put the CHIP through its paces soon, and look forward to reporting our findings.

Just in: During a panel discussion at MakerCon, Dave Rauchwerk revealed that C.H.I.P. is an acronym for “Computer Hardware in Products.”