Monday, November 5, 2012

Arduino Micro and Other Tiny Boards

Arduino introduced their latest product today - the Arduino Micro comes with headers, operates at   5V and sports a 16 MHz ATmega32u4. The unit is basically a mini-size Arduino Leonardo as the unit can act as a USB host and it does not have an FTDI USB chip.  The unit has a USB micro socket.  The price is $24.95 US plus shipping.

I was reading the comments on Adafruit's post for the product and they appear somewhat mixed.  I would tend to expect this myself.  Why?
  1. The Freetronics LeoStick came out many weeks ago and is priced at $28.50 shipped in the US from reseller EpicTinker or direct from their Australia based operation.  The product plugs directly into a full-size USB port so no cable is needed for programming or interfacing as a USB host.  It also has headers (not standard shield compatible but you could make your own).
  2. The large number of small form-factor Arduino-compatibles.  Very successful Kickstarter projects like Digispark and TinyDuino bring compatible devices at around the $22 mark (about the same price as a full Arduino Leonardo.
  3. The new 32-bit tiny powerhouses led by the Teensy 3.0 at $27.95 US have much of the power of the Arduino Due in the small form factor.
All this would probably not be possible without leveraging the existing Arduino integrated development environment (IDE).  But is loyalty to the brand enough to guarantee volume sales? 

The Prius was the first mass produced hybrid and has a strong following.  But there are many electric or hybrid cars now, some rather reasonable.  Does one stick with the market leader or consider something like the new Tesla Model S?  The choice is yours - viva la choice.