Friday, October 26, 2012

How Much Time for the Arduino Mega?

Every several days I browse eBay under keyword Arduino to see what the universe of parts may be currently offered.  I didn't know it when I started, but it is clear now that over time one can deduce what the state of the market is by observing the trends.  That coupled with the latest news provides me the insights for today's post.

The Arduino Uno style clones are growing in frequency at lower price points.  I have seen two styles of Adafruit motor shield clones at about half the genuine price.  The Ethernet shield clones are below $15 which is rather amazing as the official model is three times that.

But today, I focused on the Arduino Mega (current retail $65).  With the announcement of the Arduino Due, it seems there is a marked reduction in the prices the Mega and its clones are commanding. The Arduino group has not announced the Mega's fate but with the Due offering significant performance and capability improvements over the Mega at a lower price point, the Mega will most likely be discontinued.

While I could see a repricing of the Uno at $25 and the Leonardo at $20 in comparison to the $49.95 Due, I have a hard time seeing Italian manufacturing accommodating this well as the margins diminish.  This may be possible though - the Raspberry Pi is being manufactured by Sony in the UK for $35, so the low parts count Arduinos could be still made in the EU at affordable prices.  I would say if the Mega stays part of the Arduino lineup, a price point above $32.50 would be rather hard to sustain.  The clones are running $20-$26 so a price of $29.95 would be better.  But then again, will Makers keep using the board when the Uno and Due bookend it?