Midatronics has launched a pair of Arduino MKR form factor development boards based around STMicroelectronics' STM32WB55CG with Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy (BLE) and IEEE 802.15.4 communications capabilities — and they're a drop-in replacement.
Brought to our attention by CNX Software, the Midatronics MKR SharkyPro family — distinguished only by whether it has an on-board chip antenna as per the MKR SharkyPro I or an SMA connector for an external header as per the MKR SharkyPro II — are gumstick-format, breadboard-friendly development boards built to be a pin-compatible replacement for the Arduino MKR range with full support for programming via the Arduino IDE.
The boards are based on the STMicro STM32WB55GC/CE, a wireless microcontroller design with two Arm Cortex-M4 cores running at 64MHz, a single Arm Cortex-M0+ running at 32MHz and handling network tasks, and Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth Mesh 1.0, OpenThread, ZigBee, and general IEEE 802.15.4 networking capabilities.
The board includes a micro-USB port for power and programming, runs on 3.3V logic, and has two 14-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) headers compatible with the Arduino MKR pinout and featuring USART, analog to digital conversion (ADC), SPI, quad SPI (QSPI), and I2C connectivity. An eight-pin SWD header is also provided for debugging, along with a physical reset button and user-programmable input button and output LED.
Both board designs are available now from Midatronics, though the company has made pricing available only on application. The company also sells the SharkyPro module on which the MKR SharkyPro boards are based separately, for those making the move to manufacturing or looking to shrink down a one-off design.