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Onion’s Omega2, a $5 rival to the Raspberry Pi, smashes crowdfunding goal

Over the past couple of years, the Raspberry Pi has become firmly entrenched as the go-to single-board computer for DIY makers and tech tinkerers. Now, there’s a new contender to its throne that’s making some serious waves on Kickstarter.

The Omega2 by Onion has already smashed its crowdfunding goal of $15,000, having crossed the $440,000 mark as of the time of writing. “We aimed to at least surpass last year’s campaign, but we weren’t sure of what to expect,” wrote the company’s co-founder, Francis Chung, in an email to Digital Trends. “We simply focused on creating something great, that people would want and can easily afford.”

Despite costing just $5, the single-board computer boasts features that could put it ahead of its competition.

The device has built-in Wi-Fi and flash storage, eliminating the need for extra hardware components or add-ons. The Omega2 has been designed with ease of use as the top priority — a sensible decision, given the growing popularity of single-board computers as a teaching aid at all levels of academia.

Related: This $120 Raspberry Pi 3 bundle is the starter kit you’ve been waiting for

Onion describes the Omega2 as “a tiny Linux server with Wi-Fi,” but the company has made a number of accommodations to ensure that anyone can make full use of the system. A suite of apps has been developed to make the hardware as approachable as possible, without hampering the experience for expert users.

“Just as a regular computer can cater to both crowds,” said Chung, “an Omega2 can be used as a learning tool, as well being used for complex DIY projects, or for commercial and industrial purposes.”

The $5 version of the Omega2 features a 580MHz CPU, 64MB of memory, 16MB of storage, and a USB 2.0 port, according to a report from ZDNet. A $9 variant is also available, which ups the system’s memory to 128MB and its storage to 32MB, while also adding a MicroSD slot.

The example projects listed on the device’s Kickstarter campaign really demonstrate the flexibility of the Omega2. From a Wi-Fi range extender to an AirPlay boombox to a Wi-Fi media server, it’s clear that this bit of kit can be used to great effect in all manner of DIY projects.

The Omega2 Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to run until August 23. Hardware bought as part of the campaign is expected to ship in November.