An Oakland, California start-up called Next Thing is touting a new single board computer that makes the $35 Raspberry Pi seem expensive.
The Chip will, by comparison, cost $9.
The company is raising money on Kickstarter for a unit that will run a version of Debian Linux, use a 1Ghz R8 ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC storage. It is actually more powerful than a Raspberry Pi B+ and equal to the BeagleBone Black (another teeny, low-cost computer) in clock speed, RAM, and storage.
The Chip is using an A13 ARM processor by Allwinner, which not surprisingly is based in Shenzhen, China. Allwinner supplies many of the low-cost tablets that come branded with names you’ve never heard of.
So how is the marketplace reacting? The team was looking to raise $50,000, and as of this morning was about to pass $700,000.
It is, of course, not really $9 if you want to take this little unit off a lab bench and put it in the wild. An HDMI adapter adds $15 and an enclosure might be a few bucks.
Does this lower the cost bar even further for digital signage? Possibly, but mainly in a niche market populated by people in the education and non-profit market that are looking to “see if they can make something work” or who have almost zero budget to make something happen. Among the support already listed is the VLC media player.
I personally think once you get to $200 or so as a unit price for media players, the business market is pretty happy and not pushing that hard to get prices even lower.
Then again, the busiest post on this blog is, month after month, about Raspberry Pi options.
The guys behind this already work with the Raspberry Pi board, as well.