$9 Computer Campaign Surpasses Fundraising Goal On Kickstarter by $650000 and Counting

CHIP is a small computer brain that sells for $9 on Kickstarter, a new campaign that has blown past its $50,000 goal. (Photo: Next Thing Co.)
CHIP is a small computer brain that sells for $9 on Kickstarter, a new campaign that has blown past its $50,000 goal.
(Photo: Next Thing Co.)

Who wants a $9 computer? A lot of people.

While Apple may produce wildly sleek laptops and desktops for those with thousands of dollars to spend, those with a considerably smaller budget may be intrigued by CHIP, a Raspberry Pi-based motherboard that can be connected to peripherals (keyboard, monitor) and the Internet (via Wi-Fi).

Next Thing Co., based in Oakland, put its deck-of-cards-size unit on Kickstarter this month with a fundraising goal of $50,000 and has surpassed $700,000 from 15,000 backers. The campaign closes June 6.

CHIP boasts a suite of useful capabilities anchored to a 1-gigahertz processor with 512 megabytes of RAM and 4 gigs of storage. LibreOffice allows users to create spreadsheets, Scratch lets them play and create games, and a Chromium browser connects them to the Internet.

“We’re honestly surprised,” says Dave Rauchwerk, CEO of Next Thing Co., which he describes as “nine dudes in Oakland making a $9 computer.” Mostly, he says, he was concerned that consumers would not fully understand that CHIP was a versatile product.

“Given how much funding we’re getting, it’s safe to say that maybe today people realize that computers don’t necessarily look like what you think they look like,” Rauchwerk says.

The genesis of CHIP was seeing that Chinese companies were pumping out tablets “that cost around $36, so we figured, what if you strip that all out and are just left with the brains inside, what would that cost?”

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SOURCE: USA Today – Marco della Cavo

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