The Onion Omega2 is the latest tiny computer continuing in the tradition of the Raspberry Pi. The Omega2 is the successor to last year’s Omega, a hackable, expandable, and affordable computer that was one-fourth the size of the Pi. The Omega2 and its main competitor, the Raspberry Pi Zero, are both $5 computers that hope to be cheap enough, and tiny enough, for people to buy a new unit with each new DIY project they take on.
For 5 bucks, you get a 580 MHz CPU, 64MB of memory, and 16MB of storage. If you’re lucky enough to have an extra $4 lying around, you can spend $9 for the Omega2 Plus, and get double the memory and storage.
For the same price, the Pi Zero has a 1 GHz CPU, and 512MB of RAM. The Pi Zero certainly edges out the Omega2 in terms of computing power, but the Omega2 does have built-in Wi-Fi, something the Pi needs a special add-on for. The Pi Zero also includes an HDMI out, making it more usable in a desktop-type setup. To compete, Onion has a cloud-based feature called Onion Cloud that allows you to control the Omega2 via the web browser on any computer, and regulate hardware-software interactions with a bunch of cool APIs. The tradeoffs and differences between the two devices paint the picture of two complementary $5 computers, each having a unique place in our hyperconnected future that is ruled by machine overlords.
The Kickstarter page shows a pressure-activated light switch, a Wi-Fi media server, and an LED color-changing lamp as examples of some of the cool things you can do with the Omega2. The Omega2, like its predecessor, is highly modular, with a bunch of cool docks like the Power dock which includes a lithium polymer battery for power, or the Arduino Dock which turns the Omega2 into a fully functioning Arduino Uno if you’re into that sorta thing. These docks and a few others are available for $15 a piece, with Onion inviting third-party developers to come up with their own expansions for the launch later this year.
The Omega2 is available for preorder on Kickstarter until August 23rd starting at $5 with the final product shipping in November.