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Published on: October 3, 2013 / Comments: 1

It’s an Arduino, no it’s A beagle bone, no, it’s both?

Yay! ... ugh...

It’s the Arduino TRE.  Not unlike the previously announced Arduino YUN, a dual processor design.  The board is a Leonardo style Arduino (ATMega32u4) paired up with the same workings that make up the beagle bone black (AM335x Sitara).  Which gives you an environment suited for embedded Linux on the Sitara side, and Arduino (on the Arduino side).

Although I haven’t seen the price point, if it’s cheaper or the same price as the YUN I would prefer this setup, however I feel sort of mixed about these weird hybrid boards in general.  Everyone wants to jump on the Arduino bandwagon.  Everyone wants to jump on the Raspberry Pi bandwagon, and some people want to jump on both and produce these weird hybrid things.

In my opinion these boards create market confusion, especially to newbies.  Everyone says ‘we are Arduino compatible’ which means you can write code somewhat like an Arduino, or it has a footprint for an Arduino shield.  But what they don’t tell you is you can’t run Arduino code, or there is no library to support that Arduino shield.  What used to make the Arduino great was the fact there was tons of shields and code out there you could run.  Now that isn’t the case.  With all the new gross hybrids and incarnations you can’t simply get some code that used to work — to work.  It requires some interpretation and porting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheap, powerful hardware.  But I feel that more hardware like this starts to separate the people who write code, and the people who use code.  Something like the TRE will be an awesome processor for your 3D Printer and tons of people will use it.  That’s the key word, use it.  They will download pre-compiled binary images and  eventually figure out how to get code on the eMMC and the Arduino at the same time etc.  But then when there is a bug they will rely on others to fix it or enhance it because the environment becomes more intimidating and there are less examples on how to do things.   That’s just my take.


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