When your latest project requires a bit more processing power than an Arduino provides then most Makers switch over to the Raspberry Pi or a BeagleBone Black. Now there is another option. It’s called the C.H.I.P and it’s being sold as the world’s cheapest computer.

The marketing strategy is similar to what we saw with the Raspberry Pi. A small cheap computer that can be used for web surfing, doing spreadsheets and playing games. Its also pushing the educational angle with pre-loaded development software such as Scratch.

The Kickstarter campaign has already reached it goal of $50k and a $9 dollar pledge gets you the C.H.I.P module with a composite cable.

Another option they have is the Pocket C.H.I.P pledge. The Pocket C.H.I.P makes it more portable by adding a 4.3″ touchscreen, mini qwerty keyboard and a five hour battery.

Unfortunately this is where the $9 dollars for a computer gets distorted. Just like the Raspberry Pi you still need to add a display and keyboard. Want to connect it to a VGA or HDMI screen? Then you need to add an adapter (another $15). Add another $20 for shipping to South Africa and you might as well get a Rasberry Pi 2 locally.

In short, for a computer replacement there are better options available.

img1On the other hand, as a maker this makes me excited. Here is a board with similar specs than a Raspberry Pi, except that it’s smaller, cheaper and has better builtin connectivity (wireless and Bluetooth).

img2The small size makes it easy to install into any project and at the low price you won’t mind building it into anything. In fact, it’s designed for integrating it into your own projects. It does battery charging, brings out the usual IO (I2C, SPI and UART) and it’s all open source.

The Pocket C.H.I.P addition makes for a great remote for your projects. With the bluetooth and wifi connectivity on the C.H.I.P you have a great remote for controlling your arduino robot or your latest home automation project.

Basic Specs for the C.H.I.P:

* 1 GHz Processor
* 512MB Memory
* 4GB Flash Storage
* WiFi, Bluetooth
* Composite Video, VGA and HDMI (with adapters)

This is a great little board and I can’t wait to use it in one of my projects!