New tools for pros or hobbyists

Document created by johnmc on Jun 4, 2014Last modified by denisse_mendoza on Oct 12, 2015
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As a maker and a professional engineer I always try to keep up with new tools to tinker with.  Being a Freescaler I get especially jazzed about ones using our chips.  But, with so many fish in the sea it's hard to get the word out about all the options out there.  So for your viewing pleasure below is a list of up and coming "development boards" for both Makers and Professionals.  All of these boards use Freescale silicon, but the actual board/product is not made by Freescale.  Add comments below with anything I should be made aware of and any reviews or comments of the ones I mentioned.


In the microcontrollers corner...

teensy31_front_small_green.jpgTeensy 3.1 -Weighing in at 2.95 grams, don't be fooled by this one's size; it really packs a punch.  But the board is just the beginning, you can program the board using Arduino Sketch, and Paul has cooked up some cool new audio and video libraries that take advantage of the extra horsepower in the Kinetis K20 chip.
wunderbar.jpgWunderBar -This one wins the award for creative naming and packaging.  Basically, you have a main board and several sensor boards.  You snap off the sensor boards (like breaking off a piece of chocolate) and attach them to your desired application.  Out of the box, basic board level stuff is taken care of so you can spend more time working on your tablet/smartphone application.



Enter the hybrid cross-overs

These two boards have both MCU and MPU's onboard for the best of both worlds.  Generally speaking the MPU handles more multimedia rich tasks, while the MCU handles real-time operations such as controlling motors, monitoring sensors and other various functions.



UDOO - After coming off a very successful Kickstarter campaign the UDOO board is gaining some serious traction. You can pick from a dual or quad core Freescale i.MX6 processor with the Atmel SAM32 (aka the Arduino chip) and let the fun begin.  UDoo has a thriving community and really caters well to the "Maker" community.

freedog.jpgFreedog -  Combines a Atheros AR9331 and Kinetis KL25Z  The Atheros processor supports Linino, a Linux distribution based on OpenWRT. The board has built-in Ethernet and WiFi support, which is a huge plus!



The future of personal computing

Things are really heating up in the microprocessor corner with lots of new i.MX enabled development boards.  These boards may not go toe-to-toe with your laptop or desktop PC, but the size to performance ratio is just incredible.  For grins I have listed the boards below from largest to smallest.


Riot Board- Another SBC (Single Board Computer) solution featuring a single core i.MX 6 application processor.  This board is capable of many things but the focus is for Android development.  I had Netflix and Pandora running on my home TV in less than 30 minutes.  Cool if used for nothing more than a media center!

Wandjpg.jpgWand Board - You can pick between single, dual and quad core flavors.  Under the hood this platform is a SOM (System On Module) allowing you to pop this super small plug into your creation and accessorize!  The dual and quad core flavor comes with built in WiFi  and Bluetooth provides a lot of connectivity options.

[NEW: Added 7/2/2014]

Hummingboard - Several people contributed this in the comments section and I was notified this is now available for purchase.  On paper it looks pretty sweet, same price as the Rasberry Pi but with a much more powerful from a processor performance and peripheral perspective.  I am going to try to get my hands on one and will update you!


CuBox - I would put this in more of the finished products camp and not really a development tool, but it is still VERY cool.  A 2 inch cube mini-computer.  Nicely polished packaging and Android O/S, it makes my desktop PC look like a relic.

Warpjpg.jpgWarp Board - Aimed squarely at wearables, this thing is so small and oh by the way it runs Android and is cranking away at 1 GHz.  It's slated for a end of summer release, but you can start getting updates now from their website!