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 CHIP - The World's First Nine Dollar Computer 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
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CHIP - The World's First Nine Dollar Computer

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/15 ... 9-computer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkfBWAJ7kbI

http://mashable.com/2015/05/07/chip-tiny-computer/

Quote:
1 GHZ processor
512MG Ram
4GB Storage


I really want one but I don't really want Linux because I don't know it.

Quote:
8 digital GPIOs, one PWM pin, SPI, TWI, UART, USB, MIPI-CSI, Parallel LCD output, touchpanel input, and a whole bunch of power rails in and out. Most of these are set by the processor, but others are still subject to change as we finalize part selections. We’ll post more specific pinouts and electrical specs when we have finalized the design for “Alpha” modules in September.


It has an A13 Allwinner processor (ARM) chip.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allwinner_Technology

Did I mention this project is on Kickstarter? Wouldn't it be great for the next generation to learn programming?


Fri May 08, 2015 5:53 am
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Can't argue with the price, or the on board composite video, but having the storage on board seems worse to me than the Pi's SDcard approach - you can't brick a Pi or get conflicts between two projects because you can just swap cards.


Fri May 08, 2015 6:44 am
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Location: California
I have absolutely no idea how they can make it so cheap. I think the only reason to make it so cheap though would be for incorporating it into inexpensive consumer electronics. For anything else, if I'm going to put the time into learning to use it and so on, I would hope to use it for many, many years, so $90 amortized over those years is not much worse than $9. I really like the fact that it's open-source. I wish everything were.

Quote:
I really want one but I don't really want Linux because I don't know it.

I've been using it on my desktop computer for the last 8 years or so. When I was using Windows, I had to spend a lot of time maintaining the computer, and I was also angry with the computer too often. When I went to Linux, everything just worked, and 90% of my computer problems disappeared. I don't need antivirus and I've never had any trouble from viruses or anything like that. I never have to de-frag, or re-install anything to get it going again, have not had any slowing, and downloading and installing new software is usually much, much easier, and without Big Brother telling you you have to have a software key or pay again for this or that. I re-start only when updates require it. Most don't.

I started out with Linspire, and some time later it was bought out by Xandros who dropped support for it. At that time Ubuntu seemed to be the emerging leader in desktop Linux, so I went with that. Everything was fine on version 10.4 (from 2010). Then I got 12.something (from 2012) and then 14.04 (from 2014), and now I'm wanting to find another Linux distro because Ubuntu is getting harder to use, not easier. I don't like the directions they've gone, and they don't support the older versions anymore.

Our older son maintained computer networks until he got bored with it and quit recently, and he finds Linux much easier to use to fix problems. In fact, if all the clients used Linux, there wouldn't be nearly so many problems; but when they use Windows, he often put in a live Linux CD to run Linux without installing it just so he could have better control of the computer and do things more easily. He knows Linux (and Windows) infinitely better than I.

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Fri May 08, 2015 8:14 am
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If you have a computer and a USB memory stick, you can try Linux easily and safely - no need to install it or have a separate machine. The utility "Unetbootin" can be used to download a Linux distribution and put it on the stick and make it bootable.

As for choice of distribution I'd probably go for Debian as it has a good selection of packages - the easy installation of prebuilt packages is what you want from a distribution. They are otherwise quite similar.


Fri May 08, 2015 1:24 pm
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Yes, I should have mentioned that the Linux distros I've used are Debian-based. Wikipedia has an article on Debian, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian . Our son runs his server computer on Ubuntu (again Debian-based), and although he can see all the hacking attempts, there has never been a successful one. He used to host my website.

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Fri May 08, 2015 8:02 pm
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Garth, take a look at Linux Mint -- I think of it as Ubuntu without the bloat and awful desktop. Mint's MATE desktop is the old Gnome 2, fast and clean.

My wife uses Linux Mint. I use straight Debian Linux (which now includes MATE as an option).

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Thu May 14, 2015 4:25 pm
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Garth wrote:
I have absolutely no idea how they can make it so cheap. I think the only reason to make it so cheap though would be for incorporating it into inexpensive consumer electronics.


The Launchpad from TI was $5 and they were probably losing money at it but if you consider the makers of Chip are charging $10 for shipping and can subsidize it with other peripherals like the case, the lipo battery, the HDMI and VGA shields then they know they will be making their money back. When you buy in bulk, the price goes down because the reels at Mouser or Digikey are cheaper for hundreds and thousands of components than buying less than $100 and I think that is because they don't have to pay someone to cut and count the components from the reel. Plus the makers know they will increase the price and have repeat sales once they fulfill the Kickstarter orders.

I pledged and changed my kickstarter order 15 minutes today before the Kickstarter ended. Now I have to wait until sometime next year to get my reward.
I am probably going to have to get a Github account to get the files and support I want.


Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:43 pm
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Wow - they were looking for $50k and ended up with $2 million. Now, someone who had some kind of a plan to make and ship some stuff for about $50k is going to have a whole new level of challenge to do the same at this scale: you can't realistically do it with family and friends around the kitchen table! I hope they rise to the challenge. (The Raspberry Pi people were also challenged by the scale of the response to their offering, and after a shakey start got a couple of distributors to handle everything for them.)


Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:56 pm
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Everyone who enters business has to look at it as a challenge to succeed.

There are close to 40,000 owners of the (Chip) $9 computer now and there will be resales and some people bought two which could be given to people. I can tell you next year how it is going. I believe this product will grow like the Raspberry Pi and I hope that more of you join us.


Sat Jun 06, 2015 7:32 pm
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(That said, this is not their first project and they seem to be organised, so it looks good!)


Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:31 pm
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BigEd wrote:
(That said, this is not their first project and they seem to be organised, so it looks good!)


There are nine of them in their team / company.
Allwinner is the company that makes the CPU and they are working towards this project.
A group called Free Electrons which are Linux experts are contributors to ARM Linux and are working on this project.
There are also Kernal Hackers that are getting their units early so they will be developing for the unit. I don't know who the Kernal Hackers are but it will be interesting IF some of them are the DIY community itself like Sparkfun, Adafruit and or others. It would be great if they got behind it and also sold it and I can't imagine one or more of them not seeing an opportunity in this.

I'm looking forward to this as I see this as a way forward in hobby computing and I think it will be great for everybody. I hope I see peripherals and I want to watch it grow.


Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:54 pm
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Chuckt wrote:
Garth wrote:
I have absolutely no idea how they can make it so cheap. I think the only reason to make it so cheap though would be for incorporating it into inexpensive consumer electronics.


The Launchpad from TI was $5 and they were probably losing money at it but if you consider the makers of Chip are charging $10 for shipping and can subsidize it with other peripherals like the case, the lipo battery, the HDMI and VGA shields then they know they will be making their money back. When you buy in bulk, the price goes down because the reels at Mouser or Digikey are cheaper for hundreds and thousands of components than buying less than $100 and I think that is because they don't have to pay someone to cut and count the components from the reel. Plus the makers know they will increase the price and have repeat sales once they fulfill the Kickstarter orders.

I pledged and changed my kickstarter order 15 minutes today before the Kickstarter ended. Now I have to wait until sometime next year to get my reward.
I am probably going to have to get a Github account to get the files and support I want.

I think you're right in that they plan to lose money on it and make it up in the accessories. Perhaps they also planned on the excitement to get them more Kickstarter funds than they would need. We buy parts by the thousands or ten thousands in our company, and I still don't see how they could not be losing money to sell the computer for $9.

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Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:05 pm
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Quote:
Wait… If R8M module is $16, how can C.H.I.P sell it for $9? One difference is that C.H.I.P module only has 4GB NAND flash, but the module quoted to Olimex appears to come with 8GB flash, but it’s not does not explain the price difference. At first, I thought they did like some eBay sellers: making it on shipping. As while shipping is $5 to the US, it was $20 to the rest of the world, although they’ve found was to reduce this to $12 to $15 at the end of the campaign. But I’ve been explained the reason for the higher cost is probably because they manufacture it in China, ship it to the US, and have it handled by a US logistic company (Backerkit) from there.

Olimex estimates the BoM cost of C.H.I.P should be close to $20, so that means they may be losing around $10 for each board sold. So the $9 was mainly for marketing purpose, but a potential issue is that it worked on they raised over $2 millions, and “we sell at a loss, but we will make it on volume” does not really work in real life. So does that mean the campaign is at risk as Next Thing Co. may not have enough funds to manufacture the board? Not necessarily, as many backers also pledged for accessory boards (HDMI adapter ,VGA adapter, and others) which are likely to have a bigger margin, and the average pledge is $52.37, so they might even be able to make some profits. But if money is tight, delays might be likely. We’ll find out late 2015, early 2016, unless Next Thing Co. decides to address the issues raised by Olimex and others.


If you read the comments to the link, they expect prices to drop next year which is when I'm getting mine delivered (March 2016) plus it has 4 GB of flash instead of 8 GB and they are making it up on shipping and shields. Where I work, we expect prices to go up every year so this is not the advice my boss would give me. Other reasons I've read is that the header to HDMI isn't broken out without a shield and the other reason I read was that it is a version of another chip stripped down and I might be able to provide details after I find the link. I did read that Allwinner was working on bringing the price down. If they can't do it, I won't have my unit delivered to me next year and it is as simple as that.

http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/06/07/ ... at-a-loss/

This link says they are bringing the price down next year at $4.99:

https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/85447-87029700

Quote:
They have neglected to put VGA or HDMI connectors on it in order to
save costs - only composite out via what appears to be a headphone
jack. Instead, VGA and HDMI signals are available on the (very large)
breakout headers. They sell the adapter boards with it for $10-$15
more.


http://www.piclist.com/techref/postbot. ... =&tgt=post

The link called piclist above has a lot of useful information about the unit which tells me how they might have saved costs.


Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:15 am
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