Blues Unveils the $19 Notecard XP for Cellular IoT, New "Minimalist" Notecarrier X Series

Lowest-cost Notecard yet comes with the need for external power supply circuitry, supplied on the dedicated Notecarrier XP.

Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity specialist Blues has announced the latest entry in its Notecard family, the Notecard XP — which will launch at just $19, along with upgraded versions of its Notecard Cellular and a new "minimalist" Notecarrier X Series line of carrier boards.

"Chip-down cellular initiatives overlook the fully-loaded cost of designing a complete IIoT [Industrial Internet of Things] solution, where items like cellular service plans, firmware development, and device provisioning are ignored in a BOM calculation, only to pop up later in the form of substantial, up-front investment," claims Blues' Brandon Satrom in support of the company's new offering.

"Notecard XP provides the first cost-competitive alternative to chips-down cellular: a Notecard with optionality for an end product BOM, while still retaining the core API and network sunset resilience that customers have come to depend on with the Notecard."

The Notecard XP removes selected components from the core Notecard design in order to bring the cost down to just $19, while still offering the same wireless connectivity — including full firmware compatibility. Its name gives a clue as to what's missing: the Notecard XP requires an "eXternal Power" supply.

The module also loses the SIM switching hardware, condensation-preventing conformal coating, and the usual embedded SIM (eSIM) with bundled 500MB data plan, but retains the Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller, three-axis accelerometer, temperature sensor, and secure element of its more expensive stablemates.

At the same time as unveiling the Notecard XP, Blues has confirmed improvements to the existing Notecard line-up — including a new midband LTE Cat. 1 bis model that has only a single antenna, in contrast with the dual-antenna wideband variants. "When upgrading Notecard Cellular," Satrom claims, "we prioritized creating an innovative design that reduces costs while making units more compact and accessible."

Finally, Blues has announced a new family of carrier boards dubbed the Notecarrier X Series. These, the company explains, offer a minimalist approach to getting up and running with a Notecard, designed primarily for low-cost proof-of-concept and pilot program development. These are compatible with all Notecard models, the company promises, except the Notecard XP — which, owing to its need for external power supply circuitry, requires its own carrier sensibly dubbed the Notecarrier XP.

The new boards will be available to purchase "later this summer," the company has confirmed, via the Blues website; those interested in the Notecard XP can sign up to the waitlist.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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