After a long hiatus, almost certainly caused by the resolved legal troubles, the pace of hardware development at Arduino has obviously picked up. The two boards released last weekend on Arduino Day have now been joined by yet another pair of boards, unveiled today by the company at Maker Faire Bay Area: the MKR Vidor 4000 and the Arduino Uno WiFi Rev 2.
However the new Arduino Uno WiFi isn’t just a straight up replacement for the now venerable Arduino Uno. The current Uno is built around an 8-bit Microchip ATmega328P, while the latest is powered by an ATmega4809.
The ATmega4809 is the first AVR device to feature Microchip’s Core Independent Peripherals (CIP), and having this on the Arduino is a perhaps a bigger deal than it appears on the surface.
Yet while CIP support for the new board will no doubt be available in Microchip’s Atmel Studio or MPLAB X development environments, it’s not yet clear how support will be exposed in Arduino’s own native development environment. Native Arduino library support will no doubt define how much adoption this new feature gets from the community.
The board also provides more RAM (6KB) and Flash (48K) memory, alongside three hardware UARTS allowing communication with more than one RF module, and an integrated high-speed Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC).
Interesting for a board intended to replace the ‘entry level’ Uno, the Uno WiFi even has a Microchip ATECC608A cryptographic co-processer providing hardware-based security, and hardware-based key storage, for connecting your projects to the cloud.
The current Arduino line has a somewhat confusing collection of boards that share the ‘classic’ Arduino form factor; the Uno, the Leonardo, the 101, and the Zero. It seems likely that the 101 built around the now discontinued Intel Curie processor will soon disappear, and the parallel existence of both the Uno and the Leonardo has always been somewhat confusing. I’d argue that in the very near future we should see a reduction.
At least personally I don’t see much need for Arduino to support more than one (perhaps two) “legacy” form factor boards, one at the entry level and one with more power, or at least more features.
It’s possible that the new Uno WiFi will take its place as the ‘entry level’ board, and something like the current Arduino Zero — based around a 32-bit processor — will become the ‘other board.’ Although with the Zero currently sold out on the Arduino Store, it’s more than likely that we’ll see a new board taking its place in the lineup soon.
I’d argue that the we’ll see a collapse in the number of Arduino form factors as well. Right now we have the ‘classic’ Arduino, and the new MKR form factor. They’re both likely to stay around for the foreseeable future. But alongside those are the Micro, Nano, and Mega/Due form factors. I’d predict we won’t see new boards filling those places in the family. Leaving the new ‘classic’ Arduino Uno targeted directly at those wanting to prototype, and the newer MKR aimed at those trying to bridge the gap between prototype and product.
The Arduino Uno WiFi Rev 2 will be available for purchase from the Arduino Store starting at the end of June 2018.