back to article Pocket C.H.I.P. makers go Pro with cloud-linked ARM-flexing module for IoT gizmo builders

The team behind the popular $9 C.H.I.P. single-board-computer has come up with a version for engineers, startups, and larger organizations to embed in their products. Essentially, if you're an aspiring gadget maker and you want to stick a small Linux-flavored computer into your thing and sell it, the C.H.I.P. Pro aims to be …

  1. wsm
    Joke

    Can't be all bad

    After all, there's a /great/ chip in the middle.

  2. streaky

    Popular..

    Shame the preorder I ordered like 6 months ago still hasn't shipped, lol.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Go

    Neat idea. Trade cost for convenience. Of course

    The joker will be that "cloud update" service, how secure it is and how many will want it.

    Time will tell.

    1. Mystic Megabyte
      Unhappy

      Re: Neat idea. Trade cost for convenience. Of course

      The "Most Read" article directly across the page from your comment is; Internet of Things botnets: You ain't seen nothing yet.

  4. Mage Silver badge

    Interesting

    Complementary to Pi and Ardunio, I think.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Just what we need

    More poorly secured on-line kit.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Just what we need

      Not necessarily, at least this one comes with optional remote cryptographically signed auto-update service.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Just what we need

        I suppose having an update service shared by a number of manufacturers would in principle increase its chances to staying around even when some of those manufacturers have shuffled off their inductive coils, but by the same token, if the "Oakland-based startup" goes chips-up it could brick a whole range of devices simultaneously.

  6. Howard Long

    Glazed over at the mention of...

    ...cloud subscription.

    Nope, not interested in another piece of obsolete landfill.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Glazed over at the mention of...

      > Glazed over at the mention of... during reading comprehension classes

      There, fixed it for you.

      There is absolutely nothing in the article about this being "cloud linked or landfill" - had you actually read and comprehended it. This is about the manufacturer offering an OPTIONAL internet based update service for things they manufacture using these modules. That does NOT mean that the devices need to be cloud connected to work - they only need to be online to receive updates via this service.

      Now, what a manufacturer decides to do with the modules is another matter. If the gadget manufacturer decides to make another Revolv then that's down to them - it's is not something inherent from using this module.

      1. Howard Long

        Re: Glazed over at the mention of...

        Indeed, but have you considered how this outfit is surviving and intends to survive, selling $6 devices to geeks, bearing in mind the overheads of being in the Bay Area and circa dozen+ FTEs?

        Sure it'll work without their cloudy based option, but do you think that they will offer any support in getting your non-revenue earning non-cloud based system going? As an OEM myself, I can state that they are barely breaking even on the hardware, let alone funding their operations and R&D. They need to make up the money somwhere, and this is from value add sales like screens, keyboards, subscription cloud: the device itself is an attention seeking loss leader narketing ploy, just like razor blades or ink cartridges.

        They have yet to make good on their $9 Kickstarter, with only a fraction of those delivered.

        Consider the financials of this outfit for one moment, once their funding bubble bursts, it's landfill. That was my point, sorry I wasn't clearer!

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The success is in the support

    There are a million (OK, slight exaggeration) different Linux SBCs from loads of different vendors. Most of them are deservedly obscure - although cheaper than this offering.

    The ones that do succeed are the ones that realise the hardware is only a small part of what the users (or developers) need.

    The major part is the software. Not just the kernel - but the libraries to handle the peripherals, the APIs, the documentation, the support forums and the bug fixes.

    So please, SBC suppliers, don't think it's enough to simply slap a SoS on an "open source hardware" board, think of a cute name and logo for the box and then wait for success to embrace you. If that is all you can offer then you have nothing. Once you have done all that, you're about 10% of the way towards a product that people will want to test, develop on, advocate and use in quantity. The other 90% of the effort is in writing examples, supporting your forum, porting kernels, debugging drivers, documenting the hardware interfaces, writing up projects for users to adapt and generally keeping the "buzz" going.

  8. Christian Berger

    The products are OK to inspired, but the company around it seems to be bad

    I have a Pocket Chip which is one of the most interresting mobile devices I've seen in recent years. Unfortunately mine has a severe display problem, plunging me into support hell. For what seems like half a year (got one of the first ones) I'm trying to get a fix or a replacement.

    Adding to that is probably the most braindead way of flashing the firmware. It requires you to install Chrome _and_ an extension for accessing the USB. No other way seems to be available.

    1. Brian Miller

      Re: The products are OK to inspired, but the company around it seems to be bad

      I have no idea if any of mine have a display problem, because I've been using all of them headless. They are a load of fun. The battery life is quite nice, and the whole package is quite small.

      It's nice to see the C.H.I.P. people making more and different wares.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C.H.I.P?

    For a momemt there I thought Frank and Ponch had gone into the electronics game.

    Yeah I know, showing my age.

  10. Steve Todd

    It has some stiff competition

    The ESP32 for example is a twin core, 32 bit SoC with built in WiFi and Bluetooth, but can be purchased as a module for about $6. There's quite a bit of effort to make it programmable from the Arduino IDE (not my ideal choice I'll admit).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It has some stiff competition

      right, I don't get why this version is priced almost twice the original one. The update optional feature is nice but is priced separately. I would even think hardware cost is a little less due to the lack of plastic connectors?

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