Friday, May 16, 2014

Your Perfect Microcontroller

With thoughts of the Arduino Zero floating around, it begs the question: has anyone done any customer surveys to know what type of microcontrollers people actually want to buy?  Ask the customer?
I'm sure certain companies have listened to the market.  Limor Fried of Adafruit has a good track record for introducing controller form factors that are popular.

The Arduino Zero is a collaboration of Atmel and Arduino.  But nothing that has come out to date has said "we introduced this specifically targeting the customers for ______".  There is some market-speak for Internet of Things and wearable usage.  Who is going to put an Arduino Zero board in a wearable?  If it costs $5 then people will try but this thing is shaping up to be big and probably at a price point that hurts.

So I open it up: if you had your choice of a perfect microcontroller board, what would you like to see?

Ideas:

  • Large, small, "medium", compact, cubist, "fits in a ___"?
  • Lots of input/output pins?  Just enough?
  • BIG ONE: 5 volt pins or 3.3 volt pins? (or 3 volt, 5 volt tolerant!)?  Current per pin (Zero's 7 milliamps, Uno's 40 milliamps, or other)?
  • Interfaces (serial, I2C, SPI, CAN, Ethernet, debug, USB)?
  • Power?  Solar, LiPo/battery, 5 volt, 3.3 volt?
  • Bare metal real-time software (Uno etc.) or Linux, both, other?
  • Other features?
In a following post I'll compile a user-desired board and my next dream board.