Posts tagged applications
It wasn’t so long ago that a $25 Raspberry Pi seemed like a revolution in inexpensive single-board computers—but now a $9 computer called Chip has managed to go even lower. Having already surpassed its $50,000 Kickstarter goal more than 14 times over, Chip from Next Thing is, well, the next thing in cheap and versatile computing.
In fact, it’s the latest in a line of cheap but fully-featured computers that are rapidly bringing the Internet of Things within reach of your average DIY hacker or maker.
What Is Chip?
Simply put, the Chip is a teeny computer that boasts serious-enough specs to handle most basic computing tasks. It boasts a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage, not to mention Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. It features a built-in composite output, and it can connect to VGA or HDMI displays via an adapter.
And since it already has a fully integrated battery power circuit, all you need to do is attach a 2.7 volt lithium-ion polymer battery to the thing and you’re good to build Chip into portable, hacked-together projects. Chip also features an open source operating system already baked in, which can handle the Chromium web browser or LibreOffice for productivity work.
Next Thing also offers the Pocket Chip, a Palm Treo-like housing for the Chip that features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a 5-hour battery—though I’m not sure how many people will be using the Pocket Chip to type out essays.
A Big Order For A Low Price
In order to offer the Chip at such a low price, Next Thing wanted to order parts in huge quantities from its suppliers. Doing so at a higher volume would obviously lower the individual cost of the parts, so Kickstarter was a natural choice. Considering that it’s already raised over $700,000 with about 25 days left on the campaign as of this writing, Next Thing probably won’t face any shortage of supplies to build Chips.
With the creation of a $9 computer, makers have more tools than ever before to create the projects of their dreams. As technology continues to get smaller and cheaper, even more people will learn to code and hack together their ideas. And at this rate, even a $9 computer may soon seem ridiculously overpriced.
Images courtesy of Chip
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We’re still fixating on all the wrong Big Data startups. Hortonworks, one of the primary companies behind Hadoop, recently went public to great fanfare and a $1.2 billion valuation. But Hortonworks and the rest of the so-called Big Data startups are actually some of the least interesting Big Data companies.
In fact, of the current crop of 40 startups valued at more than $1 billion, virtually none of them sell Big Data technology like Hadoop. But all of them make heavy use of data – lots of it – to deliver a wide array of services.
As consultant Peter Goldmacher declared back in 2013, the biggest winners in Big Data are the “business people that have identified opportunities to use data to create new opportunities or disrupt legacy business models.” As we enter 2015, expect to see data double the number of billion-dollar startups even as public companies learn to grow through data, as well.
Do-It-Yourself Software Loses Its Luster
It used to be enough for a vendor to ship software and abandon the customer to figure it out (or pay hefty sums of money in consulting fees). SAP, for example, has made billions in revenue by shipping complex software and having customers shell out multiples of the software license fee for high-priced consultants to make sense of its Byzantine software.
That sort of strategy doesn’t work very well anymore.
Forget startups for a moment. If we look at the stock prices of various data-related companies, investors are paying a premium for companies like Tableau and Qlik that make data easy to consume:
The companies rising the most include Tableau, Qlik and MicroStrategy, which provide tools to visualize data, while companies that tend to sell infrastructure like IBM and Teradata largely skidded through the year. (In fact, IBM is on its second year as one of the Dow Jones worst performers.)
Data Begets Billions
The analysis isn’t perfect, of course. For example, though IBM sells a lot of core infrastructure it also has a Business Intelligence business. Oracle, for its part, plays in many camps, with a strong applications business to make up for its stalling database business.
See also: Big Data Will Get Even Bigger In 2015
But where the shift to Big Data really becomes apparent is in the Wall Street Journal’s burgeoning billion-dollar startup club. As the Journal’s Christopher Mims points out, “2014 was the year tech startup valuations went on a tear without precedent.”
It was also the year that tech startups put data to use at unprecedented levels.
No, not in the old-school Big Data way. When you review most lists of the “top 10 Big Data companies” they focus on those that sell Big Data technology. Among the top-15 most valuable startups, only Cloudera (and maybe Palantir) counts as a Big Data startup in this old sense of the word.
Comb through the rest of the top-40 most valuable startups and you add MongoDB and Good Data. At face value this seems to suggest that Big Data really isn’t that big of a deal.
Back to Goldmacher.
In Goldmacher’s world, the “Big winners” in Big Data are “infrastructure providers like the Hadoop vendors and the NoSQL vendors,” the “Bigger winners” are “the Apps and Analytics vendors that abstract the complexity of working with very complicated underlying technologies into a user friendly front end.”
There’s An App For That
But the “Biggest winners,” as noted above, are companies like Uber, Stripe and Airbnb that have figured out how to “leverage data as an asset,” thereby up-ending old industries and setting themselves apart. Look through the list of the top-40 most valuable startups and nearly all of them have this in common: they understand and leverage Big Data.
As we enter 2015, data will become more important than ever. It won’t, however, be easy to track, because there’s no meaningful “Big Data” category of vendors. Instead, data will transform industries as diverse as retail and healthcare, crowning multitudes of billion-dollar startups and billion-dollar revenue streams along the way.
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If “best” is too subjective of a word, then which are the three most popular search engine optimization software applications?