The CHIP is a tiny, cheap single-board computer that has a starting price of just $9 (plus shipping). Next Thing Co. launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project earlier this year, and now the team has posted an update stating that the first units are shipping to backers of the campaign.

chip ship

What’s shipping right now are Alpha CHIP devices aimed at “kernel hackers.” The hardware is shipping without any firmware, but there are instructions for flashing software onto the device.

In October, Next Thing will start shipping a second batch of Alphia CHIP hardware, and those units will be flashed with a buildroot image.

The CHIP features a 1 GHz Allwinner R8 single-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a composite video port. There’s also a USB port, a micro USB port, and a series of developer pins for attaching hardware.


While Alpha units are already starting to ship, folks who pledge $9 for a regular unit will have to wait a little longer. Those models are expected to ship in January or February. They’ll come with a version of Debian Linux pre-loaded, although it should be possible to get other Linux-based operating systems up and running o the platform.

If you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, you should be able to pre-order a CHIP from the Next Thing Co website eventually.

Just don’t expect super-speedy performance if you want to use a device with a single-core ARM Cortex-A8 processor as a desktop computer or media center PC. The appeal of a device like the CHIP is its low price and its hackability, which could allow it to earn a place in the pantheon of low-cost, low-power multipurpose computing devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

via Make

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9 replies on “$9 CHIP mini-computer starts shipping”

  1. the orange pi pc should kill this in every way, except maybe power draw, esp if in the US. on ali express i’m seeing board + power adapter + case for 23usd + 5.18usd shipping.

  2. Beware Tronsmart see my last letter below.
    You put this on your forum, where is the link to the firmware and tools? I emailed you that my HP pavillion dv5000 loaded with Allwinnwers phoenixsuite wouldn’t recognise the aw80 hooked up. you have not answered.

    A new reply has been posted on the Tronsmart Forum

    Message Subject : WINDOWS 10 FOR AW8O
    Category : Tronsmart Draco AW80
    Posted by : Tronsmart

    URL :

    Message :
    Tronsmart are untruthful and don’t support their own products. DO NOT BUY TRONSMART. I recently purchased and took delivery of the tronsmart Draco DW 80 4G/32G octacore tronsmart lied this is not, never was and never will be an android/Ubuntu dual bootable device, they posted around some bisected buttock OS image of Ubuntu and a link to CUBIBOARD SD card formatting software but when I emailed them because my laptop running windows 7 wouldn’t recognize the device, No reply = No support. other suggested software to set up dual boot from forums crowded with other frustrated users didn’t work either. Tronsmart overpriced trash.
    Sorry to hear that.

    Here is the Ubuntu firmware and updating tools, please kindly download them.

    PS: our test PC is still Win7 too and can detect AW80 directly when flashing, please tell us more details, we can support.

    1. Windows 10? On ARM? NOPE.
      Are you stupid? It only runs Ubuntu because Ubuntu has ARM support.

    1. When the still running Kickstarter campaign went through the tech news media, people were already pointing out that the $9 price tag was just a stunt to generate buzz, and that $9 would neither reflect the total cost to backers, nor would it be the price for non-backers to buy the resulting commercial product.

      If you really stop to think about it, expecting to get a Raspberry Pi competitor for 1/2 to 1/4 the price (depending on RPi model) from a company that can neither source parts nor produce finished products in quantities even close to the RPi is just plain unrealistic.

    2. Shipping has been a sore point for them, but I backed them for $14, $9 for the board, $5 for shipping. And in the BackerKit fulfillment survery they offered to let you add more boards for the same shipping, so I coughed up another $9. So for $23 I will be getting two boards. The little gameboy-esque case is way more spendy, but the bare board itself wasn’t bad.

Comments are closed.