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The $9 computer winning raves on Kickstarter

Last Updated May 12, 2015 2:16 PM EDT

These days, $9 won't even buy a movie ticket and barely covers lunch.

But it could get you a computer.

A new microcomputer called Chip from the Oakland-based company Next Thing Co. has become all the rage on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter - raising more than $1,000,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Just about the size of a smartphone, the cheap mini-computer runs on Linux and its software allows users to learn how to program, do spreadsheets and edit photos. Its tiny board also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and internal storage -- something not found in the popular $35 microcomputer, Raspberry Pi. There are also dozens of apps.

"If you wonder what a $9 computer can do, actually quite a bit," CNET's Bridget Carey told CBS News. "It's a surprising concept to a lot of people who don't think of computers this way."

Carey described the compute as having "just the bare bones, the brains of the computer."

That means you won't get a screen with this computer or a traditional keyboard. But the fact you can connect to Wi-Fi means you will be able to "start playing video games with a wireless controller."

It could also reach new markets including schools, where Chip could be an easy way to teach programming, she said. It comes with Scratch, an easy-to-learn language that is taught by making stories, games, and animations.

The Kickstarter campaign has already far surpassed its goal of raising $50,000. "They are asking so much money so they can buy in bulk and get these things to be really low cost," she said. "It's just something that is very basic and it's just an interesting way to maybe bring this to schools. They can start learning to program in new ways."

For an extra $40, the Pocket Chip - looking something like a calculator - allows you to use Chip anywhere thanks to its small screen and keyboard.

Among the company's other products are a hackable camera developer kit and an animated GIF camera. Watch more about the Chip in the company's Kickstarter video below:

  • Michael Casey

    Michael Casey covers the environment, science and technology for CBSNews.com