Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Hacking Open Source Hardware Build Linux

Why the Arduino Won and Why It's Here To Stay 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-be-the-shoes dept.
ptorrone writes "For years, students, journalists, makers and old-school engineers have asked why the Arduino open source microcontroller platform has taken off, with over 100k units 'in the wild' — it's the platform of choice for many. MAKE's new column discusses why the Arduino has become so popular and why it's here to stay. And for anyone wanting to build an 'Arduino killer' (there are many) — MAKE outlines what they'll need to do."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why the Arduino Won and Why It's Here To Stay

Comments Filter:
  • I consider NetDuino/Fez to be more or less interchangeable with Arduino, but I do vastly prefer both. I find the .NET(MF) development environment far more productive for the projects I work on. Note I do understand NETMF is not applicable to all problems (for example, realtime).
    • by mrmeval (662166)

      It did start off well. Two things that detract from it. The forum has people who drive off new users of Arduino and they will not regulate them or get rid of them.

      The last batch of 'genuine' Arduino boards had atrocious quality control problems for the amount of money they cost. I bought the Uno and latest Mega and the solder work on the headers is very poor and the edges of the PCB had not been sanded in any way so had fiberglass fuzz. They work and function well. I am looking for a more affordable substit

  • Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by jason18 (1973154) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:05PM (#35180162)
    It's cheap and affordable, yet it can do so much. The MakeZine section on it is great and has a ton of cool projects. I don't know why people are wondering what's so great about it, because it's really obvious why it is. When it comes down to it, an arduino is a $15 minicomputer.
    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jcoy42 (412359) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:36PM (#35180508) Homepage Journal

      If it's just cheap and affordable you're looking for, take a look at the MSP430 LaunchPad [ti.com]. Less than $5.

      Getting the crystal in is less than fun, but still, that's one cheap board.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        I just bought five of these from Sparkfun. You can't beat them for the money. It takes a bit more understanding of the MSP430 processor to use it, though.

        Before that, I got the $20 Ez430-USB sticks. And then the RF ones.

        The biggest issue I've found is that the readily available cheap MSP430 chips all need four wire programming and the cheap development kits have Spy-Wire two-wire programming. I ordered a dozen of the MSP430x1xx series to do a project and found out that I couldn't use the USB stick (or La

      • by makomk (752139)

        Of course, that's for the MSP430 equivalent of an ATTiny chip. If you want something with the same code capacity and I/O support of the ATmega328 in the Arduino, not only do you have to buy a new MSP430 chip and a programmer for it, but you also have to pay for the development environment because the version with the MSP430 LaunchPad is artificially limited in code size. There are two options: Code Composer Studio ($500 for a single-computer license) and IAR Embedded Workbench (pricing only available on req

    • When it comes down to it, an arduino is a $15 minicomputer.

      This. I'm using my Arduinos for things that I was planning to do with a few old 486s at one point. And they are far more useful. I can easily write programs in C, with lots of libraries available to make it easy. I don't have to learn proprietary BASIC or assembly or anything goofy. If one breaks (lost one so far -- a chicken pooped on it), I can buy a new one for $20 or use the reference info to repair it. There is a huge community of support, add-ons, and tutorials on controlling and interfacing wit

      • To me, they seem to be squeezed into a strange niche. If you want something really cheap, there are other 8-bit systems that can run Contiki for a tenth the price of the Arduino. For two or three times more, you can get a 32-bit ARM core with a few MB of Flash and RAM on board and have a vaguely modern development environment. For one-off projects, I'd go with the ARM, where you're paying a bit more but getting a lot more performance (meaning less time and effort spent optimising your code, ability to wr
        • by Machtyn (759119)
          I really wish my uP class at the university would have used any chip like these. Instead, we were relegated to old, out-of-service Motorola 68k chips, that only sometimes worked and were really expensive to replace if they even could. And while the 68k was a fine chip, it was a pain to work with on a bread board with 150+ wires running to your memory controller, timer, power, and other parts. (Of course, in a uP class, the student should still learn about all those different parts, even if they are using
    • by josath (460165)
      $30. The standard base model is $30.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:14PM (#35180260)

    There was a time when it was difficult and expensive to develop embedded applications. Then MicroChip came out with the PIC. The tools were free. There was lots of helpful documentation. You could build a PIC programmer out of junk box parts.

    If you were a small developer, you wouldn't bother with a company like Philips (and the others) whose tools were expensive and whose documentation was Byzantine.

    Arduino is one step better. It was designed to be used by artists. There are tutorials for everything. It is SO easy to use.

    Of course, Arduino isn't a chip, it's a little board. The chip is Atmel's AVR. I don't know what Atmel did to deserve their good luck. I'm guessing that the hard work of the Arduino folks has really increased Atmel's market share.

    The lesson here is that it isn't the goodness of the chip. (The early PICs were really unfriendly to C compilers.) You can have the best chip in the world but nobody will use it if they aren't properly supported.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      I'm guessing that the hard work of the Arduino folks has really increased Atmel's market share.

      Considering Atmel sells millions of chips a year to industrial clients and less than 500k chips total to Arduino and Knockoffduino makers, not all that much.

    • by harrkev (623093)

      You can have the best chip in the world but nobody will use it if they aren't properly supported.

      Yup. I recently used the old Cypress PSoC that I had lying around. This is a COOL chip. It has a plethora of analog block which can be configured as an ADC, DAC, filter, amplifier, etc. It also has configurable digital blocks which can be used as SPI, serial port, PWM outputs, timers, etc. Very configurable with LOT of cool options on-chip.

      However, it was a bit of a pain to program an ISR. I could see how t

    • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:04PM (#35182886) Homepage Journal

      In the mid 80's there was the Intel 8052-BASIC chip. [lvr.com] It had a decent integer BASIC with serial interactive I/O and could, with the proper 21(ish) VDC, burn EPROMs. I designed and manufactured a COCOT payphone [wikipedia.org] using it. Quite the fun thing to play with.

      Using a Dallas Smartsocket JEDIC socket with a 6564 SRAM chip made a great development environment.

      This was back in the mid-80s. This has better speed and Ethernet, but for the decades that have past, not anything astoundingly new.

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      I worked at a company in 2000 that were using tiny atmel chips for a keyboard catch to be used on public computers (prevent certain keystrokes and such). I used a different atmel chip, programmed in basic, to run the power supply of the arcade units. It would report back to the computer different statistics and prepare the computer(s) for shutdown if building power were lost.
    • by makomk (752139)

      The chip is Atmel's AVR. I don't know what Atmel did to deserve their good luck.

      They designed a chip that was cheap, fast, and was very easy to write a C compiler for. Someone wrote a very good open source toolchain for it. The rest was inevitable. (Some of the newer dsPIC ranges have a gcc-based compiler written by Microchip themselves, but the optimizer and standard libraries are closed source.)

  • by chaim79 (898507) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:17PM (#35180292) Homepage
    I looked into microcomputer's to experiment with and finally went with the ARMmite Pro, only to find out later that it is a Arduino-compatible device and what Arduino is, somehow in all my microcomputer searching I had totally missed that device. The ARMmite Pro is a great little board to play with, ARM 7 running at 60mhz, can be programmed using Basic or C, and (apparently) pin compatible with Arduino, all for $30. Not an Arduino killer, but a great way to 'upgrade' from Arduino without loosing form-factor or add-on boards.
  • Arduino "Uno" (Score:5, Informative)

    by trollertron3000 (1940942) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:21PM (#35180320)

    Arduino is the project, Uno is the board. There's actually a few other boards they've created: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Hardware [arduino.cc]

    If you like them you may also want to checkout many of the other microcontrollers in a Digikey or Mouser catalog. I collect them myself. Everything from PIC to Atmel-based, to Zigbee. They're all quite fun.

    The main advantage of the Arduino is it's open source design. The other controllers are not as customizable _before_ production. With arduino you can add things if you need them on board.

  • All the reasons the guy listed for why the Arduino 'wins' are not unique to the devices. You can get all of those same things out of a radio shack basic stamp.

    Arduino won because the stuck a decent microcontroller on a solid board (I'm ignoring the absolutely retarded pin spacing issue that pisses everyone off) at a decent price with a serial boot loader already burned to the chip. The ATmega chips were popular long before Arduino, so when it came out suddenly all of us who had been futzing around with AT

    • To be honest, I think you're giving Arduino a little less credit than it deserves. It's not just popular just because it uses the ATmega. It's popular because it greatly simplifies the whole process from start to end. If you're concerned with bloat in the various libraries, then why don't you fix them? They're not binary blobs. The people who made Arduino are not the ones who released every library for it. It's a community of developers sharing their work.

  • Immaculate Timing (Score:5, Informative)

    by eric2hill (33085) <ericNO@SPAMijack.net> on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:24PM (#35180358) Homepage

    I literally just opened the box of my first Arduino board about 15 minutes ago. I installed the IDE, plugged it into my computer, loaded the drivers, and sent a few sample programs to the tiny board with -zero- problems.

    With an out-of-the-box experience like that, it's no wonder the darn thing is so popular.

    • Well, thanks for the review. I've been wanting to start doing some hobby electronics for some time now; haven't been sure how to start with it. A few years ago, I'm sure I would have started with something like a PIC, but my fear is that I'd spend my short supply of dollars on something and then discover that I'm missing a half-dozen parts even before I start screwing around with it.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Really, any dev kit from any half-way decent company will be just as painless to jump into. The difference is that the Arduino is so much cheaper than professional dev kits. While EEs who like to tinker in their spare time (like me) might not mind shelling out $250 for a versatile kit, novices (or people who don't need the extra muscle) are understandably put off.

      The Arduino fills that niche, and is much nicer to work with than the old basic stamps I had to put up with in college.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        Besides, for your teenage kid, do you really want to hand him $250 worth of equipment to be burned up?
    • by drolli (522659)

      Thats it. Exactly. No problems, even if you run Linux (and many other IDEs delivered with MCs are either crippled to sell you the $4000 professional development kit or have esoteric demands in OS)

      The other thing is: simplicity; you can do a $10 "alarma clock project" up to a $200 bluetooth+gsm tracking project with the same HW.

      What i dont like is that they could support the Reneas M16C (because of the nice HW inside) or the TI430 series (power) But

  • The Arduino won? I didn't even know there was a contest!

    There are lots of microcontrollers and boards out there: Basic Stamps, PICs, 68HC11s, Parallax Propellors. You can get some for as little as $3 each. There's probably more stuff out there for Basic Stamps than for the Arduino. There's definitely more PIC related stuff.
    • by idontgno (624372)

      I wondered about that. 100K units is winning?

      I sense that Arduino is awesome, don't get me wrong. If I were undertaking an embedded microprocessor project right now, I suspect I'd base it on an Arduino's architecture. But what, exactly, is "winning"? If it's a victory, who is it over? Or is it more of a "everyone wins, we just win differently" kind of victory?

      All things considered, TFA smells like something between "hype" and "slashvertising".

    • The Arduino won? I didn't even know there was a contest! There are lots of microcontrollers and boards out there: Basic Stamps, PICs, 68HC11s, Parallax Propellors. You can get some for as little as $3 each. There's probably more stuff out there for Basic Stamps than for the Arduino. There's definitely more PIC related stuff.

      Basic stamps and PICs used to get a lot of usage in hobbyist projects, but that has changed in the last couple of years. First it started shifting from PIC to Atmel, and then to the (Atmel based) Arduino. It's been a while since I've seen a new project that someone had chosen PIC for.

      IMHO the move to Atmle may have been partially due to the PICs super annoying architecture (bank switching for every other operation, for starters). The Arduino of course has a big advantage for people who don't want (or can'

    • But of all that stuff, how much of it is touted on nearly every maker blog as, "I used the _____ board and the ___ to make these pretty lights glow in my project?"
      How much of it is open source? So if you want, you can buy all the components from the local bits and pieces store and solder the board together yourself?
      How much of it quickly, simply, and easily installs onto Linux, Macs, and PCs with almost no trouble? (Hell, I can't even get most my desktop hardware to do that one).
      How much of it is used
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:51PM (#35180670) Journal
    Most of my coworkers are old-school embedded programmers. Many of my friends are Arduino-enthusiasts. The Arduino has a vastly easier learning curve: you plug it in, open a window, and hit 'download' and your code is on the machine and running. People who are used to embedded programming are fine with setting up a development environment with libraries, handling source files, telling the IDE what programmer hardware is being used, what target hardware is begin used, what oscillator frequency and which fuses to set, but that's simply overwhelming to someone who just wants to turn relays on and off to power an art project.

    And once a lot of people were using it, they all started releasing their code. Sure there are other great code repositories, PIClist, AVRfreaks, but many of the people there are pretty DIY so they'll exchange snippets of code that they build into something finished. Arduino code is often complete: download this program to do this entire process. That mindset has attracted lots of people, who have contributed even more code, so it benefits from a networking effect, so now anyone who is releasing anything for the electronics experimenter market has to provide an Arduino sketch that handles the hardware being offered -- and that drives it even further.

    There are cheaper platforms, there are faster ones, there are ones with much better hardware (and some that are all three, the MSP430 being a likely example) but nothing that combines the simplicity and codebase of the Arduino.

  • The ardiuno is expensive, but it's easy to program with the included c#/java like language. Anybody can use it really. And anyone willing to invest a bit of time can easily learn the C-like syntax. It's relative powerful and it can make leds go blink in minutes after you unpack it. Personally I also have an arduino. I use it for prototyping. But the board is to expensive to use in applications. However, the chip itself the atmega is relative cheap and for your apps you don't need all that fancy stuff that's
  • Speaking as someone whose understanding of all this is basically at the level of "I know what a microcontroller is, but don't deal with them much"...

    What the heck are we talking about? Neither the summary nor the linked article provides any context to those of us (most of the world's population) that isn't intimately involved with microcontrollers. What does "won" mean, exactly? Is this just a hobbyist platform? Does this dominate all microcontroller applications world-wide?

    I shouldn't have to do a dozen Go

    • by santax (1541065)
      Well, look at it this way. An arduino is a complete circuit with a couple of digital and analog inputs and outputs that you can control. People love to drive LEDS with them for example and it's very easy. For example, to drive a led all you need is a resistor and the led. You connect the resistor to an output pin of your choice and attach the led to the resistor. The negative side of the led goes into the groundpin on the arduino. If you want that led to blink this would be you code: http://www.arduino.cc/e [arduino.cc]
  • by vsage3 (718267) on Friday February 11, 2011 @06:35PM (#35181260)
    (a listing can be found at http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Hardware [arduino.cc] )

    I have tried to use Arduino boards in the past, and while they're really cool for hobbyist stuff, they are very hard to integrate into battery-operated things:

    1. The operating voltage is 5V (some may be 3.3V, I forget) and draw a lot of current. Batteries that supply this kind of voltage are HUGE. It would be really nice if they had a design that was optimized for low voltages and low currents, like for mobile sensing, so that I could use coin cells.

    2. The devices are really memory-limited. The Uno, which is probably the most popular, has something like 2kB of ram. I used the board to interface with some sensors for tracking a flight trajectory on-board, and I could only record a few seconds of data before running out of room. Wireless transmission wasn't really an option because of power (= more batteries) limitations.

    3. Connecting to USB resets the board, wiping the memory, unless you cut a trace on the board. This is supposed to help facilitate loading new programs, but becomes an annoyance if you wanted to use it to transfer sensor data stored on-board to a computer. When you cut the trace to disable the autoreset, it becomes difficult to time the reset button manually so that your program uploads.

    Overall, as an EE, I was very impressed at how easy it was to use, but I think the issues I mentioned warrant some fixing if Arduino is going to be used for things like sensing.
    • by santax (1541065)
      You are using it wrong. The arduino itself uses 20ma. It has a sleepmode... For your data you should add an extra eeprom with i2c for example. Or even a flashcardwriter. You can run the arduino of a 9 volt battery btw. It takes anything from 9 to 17 volt I believe. Not completely sure and can differ by manufacturer. The RAM should be used as RAM btw. For variables. For your data use my earlier mentioned option or use the build in eeprom if it's big enough for your goal. I do agree that a bit more memory wou
    • by grantek (979387)
      If you want extremely light, you don't want a prototyping board with big easy board-to-board pin headers. From the very link you posted, Arduino has the Pro and Pro Mini, which is powered from 3.3V (ie. button cells), and is as minimal a board as you can get without designing one yourself. As for data storage, are you suggesting there's a microcontroller in the same class as the Arduino's Atmel chips that have much more memory? I think you'd be limited to off-MCU storage no matter what platform you're usin
    • by AC-x (735297)

      Connecting to USB resets the board, wiping the memory, unless you cut a trace on the board. This is supposed to help facilitate loading new programs, but becomes an annoyance if you wanted to use it to transfer sensor data stored on-board to a computer

      Nah they've fixed that, the IDE can still send a reset signal to the board through USB but plugging the USB in certainly doesn't wipe the board anymore, I've used one for data logging via USB enough times and never had any trouble with it.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      1. Make a boost converter. They're super easy. Or buy one as an IC. They cost around $1.
      2. You really should use external memory for datalogging, specifically an SD card controlled via SPI.
      I don't know about #3, as I don't have much personal experience with them, but that is a nasty design flaw if you're right.

      Based on what you mentioned about your project (battery-powered, USB connection, interfacing with sensors, and possibly wireless transmission), I'd actually recommend one of Cypress' PSoC3's. The

    • by BillX (307153)

      (Disclaimer: tooting own horn.) If you're interested, I recently put together an open-source Arduino variant designed for minimal power consumption [cexx.org] (1uA sleep current, a few mA active) for battery and energyharvesting uses. This variant uses the *PA variant AVRs, which run down to 1.8V, and power is supplied through 'power shields' which can be interchanged for different power sources. It's still an 8-bit AVR, so it won't help you on RAM or processor speed, but it should be more than enough to run a FAT32/m

  • You need a USB cable and a PC capable of running Java.

    That's it. No JTAG programmer, no EEPROM burner, no ICSP interface.

    Within minutes you can control actual real-world things like you used to be able to do with a parallel port (remember those?)
    • by santax (1541065)
      Yep, my girlfriend has one of those parallel ports. It's great as input, but when it's used as output it sort of stinks. And it's not multi-threaded. It absolutely refuses to take multiple inputs at once.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday February 11, 2011 @06:58PM (#35181530)
    Arduino is basically a platform for home users. Just like BASIC was in the 80s. That doesn't mean that it's bad, or to dismiss it, just that it needs to be placed in context. While the Arduino family have no doubt sold many, many units what does that actually mean to Atmel? In terms of the MILLIONS of devices they sell every month, the number bought by amateurs is a drop in the pot.

    Same goes for Microchip and the PIC family (processors, not development boards). I would expect they are quite happy to cede a few 100k's of chips over the past few years, given that their main business line is everything that has an embedded processor. I doubt they could actually measure the market loss to Arduinos.

    • by Arlet (29997)

      Many people keep doing what they are used to. If a student buys an Arduino as a hobby, there's a good chance that the same person, some years later, will design something based on the same AVR architecture that will end up in a larger volume product.

    • by profplump (309017)

      But if you can get 100k developers writing for Arduino you have 100k developers that are 97% familiar with Atmel AVR, which is great for Atmel. It's like giving out discounted academic licenses for pricey software programs.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      You're thinking too small. Atmel has a development platform out there that is being used by what you consider as a drop in a bucket, however the point is that it's being used. There are many MANY tinkerers that are now playing with it, programming it, understanding it. They migrate from the Andriod platform to use Atmel microcontrollers standalone in projects. Many of these tinkerers are not normal people, they are electrical engineers, or computer systems engineers.

      In a few years you will have an army
    • I've heard of researchers using Arduino, presumably because hardware's not their speciality but still they need to get a real demonstration device off the ground quickly as a proof of concept. I can imagine this happening in industry too, so even just as a rapid prototyping / concept proving product it could still have quite significant influence outside of hobby development.

  • Not trying to be a hater here, but seriously: you can get a Silicon Labs 8051-based kit, with a micro that has onboard DACs, ADCs, comparators, full-speed USB, and all of the good stuff one gets with an 8051, PLUS the JTAG debug/programming dongle (which Arduino kits DO NOT HAVE) for a hundred bucks [mouser.com].

    OK, so the free SiLabs IDE is for Windows only. But they publish the programming interface protocol (C2 for the example '340 device), they fully support SDCC (as well as Keil, IAR and others) in their debugger a

    • by Arlet (29997)

      The 8051 is an ancient piece of crap and it needs to die. Do yourself a favor and get an ARM instead.

      and all of the good stuff one gets with an 8051

      LOL

      • by Bassman59 (519820)

        The 8051 is an ancient piece of crap and it needs to die. Do yourself a favor and get an ARM instead.

        and all of the good stuff one gets with an 8051

        LOL

        For a lot of applications, an ARM is overkill. And nobody uses the original 12-clocker Intel 8051s. The SiLabs single-clocker devices are pretty great.

        • by Arlet (29997)

          For a lot of applications, an ARM is overkill

          Instead of 'overkill' you can say 'really powerful', because there is no downside to this 'overkill'. And yes, given the choice between two architectures, I'll take the really powerful one. ARMs are cheap (less than $2 for the cheapest Cortex in low quantities), low power, small size, and have a ton of peripherals. It will let you run high speed USB and 100 Mbps ethernet without a problem.

    • When did Arduino or this article about it ever claim to be for people who "do this for a living?"

      PS for that $100 you could've made more than 10 Arduino boards, or bought three retail. Its hardly a comparable price.

  • I remember scouring the suppliers to buy these years ago... collecting the "good ones" with more memory, etc.... saving them for various projects that I never got time for :)

    20 years ago the idea of being able to build a little computer into random things around the house for $10 in parts was crazy cool... It's still cool, but less so :)

    • by Onnimikki (63071)
      We were teaching with the hc11 until last year. Then we switched to the 9s12 (the update to the hc11) because Freescale lists the hc11 as "not recommended for new design". Luckily Technological Arts produces a 9s12-based board called the Esduino.... (http://www.technologicalarts.ca/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=50_166&products_id=566&osCsid=edd328ed0749eccb244643638daa2e95) hardware compatible with Arduino shields but let's us use HC11/9s12 teaching resources. Best of both worlds for teaching EE
  • PIC Microcontrollers have been around much long and probably have a lot more than 100k units shipped
  • I think he never looked at the mbed NXP. Compared to the Arduino, the mbed blows it out of the water. The programming language is C++ and there are tons of great libraries out there. Want to turn some pins into a bus and interface with with old logic components? No problem just include the header file and a line of code that sets up the pins of your choice into a bus that you can now easy read and write to. If your LCD is supported, just wire it in and a simple printf for the lcd library prints to the scree

  • by nomadic (141991)
    Only 100k? That doesn't seem like that many.
  • Umm other platforms installs are counted in the MILLIONS.. how can you call 100k a 'win' ?

  • Order your Microcontrollers for $3-$4 from http://www.digikey.com/

    Buy an ISP programmer from Pololu for $20 http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1300

    Download AVR Studio 4 for free from Atmel
    http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/tools_card.asp?tool_id=2725

    GO

  • by taweili (111177) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:55AM (#35184098)

    I got into Arduino last year while looking for interesting toys to play with my kid. Even I got a EE as part of my double CS/EE major 15 years ago, I haven't really done any electronic after college. Arduino provides a quick way to get started. Out of box with easy to use IDE, I can make stuffs entertaining my kid and myself in no time.

    The experience getting into Arduino reminds me a lot of the beginning days of Linux. There are more mature commercial options out there (e.g. Solaris, IRIX, even HP/UX) and other competing open source like Net/FreeBSD. Even GNU/Hurd was making progress. But one thing Linux got was a friendly community of beginners. Going through the Arduino forum gave me the same feeling of going through Linux forum back in 95: a lot of excitement about this and willingness to help each other and share. That's defintiely one thing other communities lack. One gets "did you real the source?" reply posting anything to a BSD group.

    That's almost parallel to where Arduino is today. There are no lack of better or cheaper alternative but most of them are either established embedded communities or serious lack of documentations. Not friendly at all for the beginners. Arduino gives the beginners a friendly place to get started.

    And Arduino goes behind just a AVR based board. It's really a ecosystem with standardized IDE and peripherals. Most people's first critics of Arduino, especially those already in the hardware hacking, is the use of AVR and often cite 8bits and the shortage of AVR last years as problem with Arduino. However, I don't really see that as a short coming of Arduino. I just got a Leaflab's Maple which is a ARM based board with Arduino compatible pin layout and IDE. Getting my projects over to Maple from Arduino is smooth. I don't see Maple as a competitor to Arduino but a member of Arduino family.

    The article is right on. There will be a lot of competitors now Arduino is on the spotlight but most of them will fail because they don't get the point of Arduino. It's not about raw CPU power or fine point of the system components, it's about community. And ones don't win the hearts of the community by belittle the community's core.

"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults." -- Peter De Vries

Working...