Next Things Co. CHIP was a $9 Arm Linux board based on Allwinner R8 processor that become fairly popular due to its low price, built-in WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity, open source hardware design, and integration into fun kits such as PocketCHIP portable gaming console/ Linux handheld computer. Later the company expanded their product line with CHIP Pro featuring Allwinner GR8 system-in-package, and designed as a low profile system-on-module to make it more suitable for integration into commercial products.
Sadly, the company eventually ran into financial problems, and had to fold later in 2018. However, later that year, a company called Source Parts announced they were working on Popcorn Computer, a derivative of C.H.I.P. board, and appears to have sold it through Amazon US for a time.
But this morning, I was informed that a board called Kettlepop was added to HackerBoards database with Next Things Co. GR8 SiP, and also made by Source Parts.
- SiP – Next Thing Co. GR8 with an Arm Cortex-A8 processor @ 1.0 GHz, Arm Mali-400 GPU, 256MB DDR3 RAM
- Storage – 8GB eMMC flash
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.2 with chip antenna and u.FL antenna connector
- USB – 1x micro USB OTG port for power and serial console access
- Expansion – 2x 16-pin with up to 30x GPIO, 2x UART, 1x ADC, camera interface, 2x I2C, 1x SPI, 2x PWM, 2x microphone, 1x headphone, etc…
- Power Supply – AXP209 PMU supporting USB power (5V), charge in, and 2.9 to 4.2V LiPo battery
- Dimensions – 45 x 30 mm
Searching a bit more details about the board, I found a Medium post explaining Kettlepop is a limited edition of a CHIP Pro derivative with an 8GB flash instead of a 512 MLC NAND flash, because it’s now cheaper. The board will be a limited edition because the company managed to “obtain 662 GR8 System-in-Packages which happened to be the last stock available on earth”. The board is said to be pin-to-pin and software compatible with CHIP Pro and Popcorn Computer. Nevertheless, that means the board is not really suitable for most commercial projects, unless somehow GR8 SiP becomes available again.
Source Parts is now offering 500 units of Kettlepop for $19,500 USD at a price of $39 each. I just don’t know how they expect to sell the parts, since no link has been provided, but you can inquire the company via their website (note: the SSL certificate expired yesterday, so your browser may warn you about this).
Thanks to Rick for the tip.