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

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

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  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @05:33PM (#35180468)

    LaunchPad [] does.

    I don't see why this hasn't gotten more fanfare or attention.
    A full dev kit costs $4.30. Some of the Arduino stuff I've seen starts at $40. You get 2 chips, a USB programmer, dev environment AND.... a real C environment. Not another language.

    It has a ton of other add-ons like the EZ430-CHRONOS [] watch. After growing up watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit, who hasn't wanted to unlock their doors with Shave and a Haircut. []

  • 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 []. Less than $5.

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

  • 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 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.

There's no future in time travel.