Sunday, June 5, 2011

chipKIT PIC32MX Competitive Analysis

Following up from my previous article about Digilent/Microchip's new chipKIT boards, despite the fact that they are footprint "Arduino compatible", they also are a new addition to the collection of PIC32MX development boards in the market, so I did some searching and put together a basic comparative analysis since the chipKIT boards are apparently priced with low margin to put some competitive pressure, the chipKIT Uno32 is even being promoted as being about $3.00 cheaper than the Arduino Uno.

While being "compatible" with Arduino, the PIC32MX has a fantastic feature set that could be crippled for some applications within the MPIDE environment. The good news is that if you don't care about Arduinio you can directly program the PIC32MX via the ICSP interface and you have sort of a generic PIC32MX development board at a very reasonable price.

What is out there ? Check the following table (click on it to download the pdf version with live links to each product page).

As you can see the chipKIT Uno32 is currently one of the cheapest options in the market, obviously there are a range of features to cover all boards, including the humongous dip switch flooded boards from MikroEletronika (I've the LV-32MX v6, like it for some work but it requires a modification to work properly with Microchip's REAL ICE).

The chipKIT Max32 falls more or less in the same price range of Microchip's Starter Kits, not that I think they are a bad product but if you want to go beyond the few LEDs and buttons on the starter kit, without the I/O expansion board (that at $72 I consider it a robbery from Microchip), they are practically useless, so the chipKIT boards may become a better solution for quick prototyping where you need to use some GPIO or analog pins.

In summary, I believe that the chipKIT boards are very well positioned not only to attract  Ardunio community enthusiasts looking for more juice and a more feature rich processor, but also current and future developers interested in the Microchip PIC32MX family.

Did I tell you that behind all the yada, yada, Microchip's marketing is running the show ?

Ohhh, just in case, chipKIT claims to be a registered trademark of Microchip Technology, Inc, other mentions to stuff that may/could/might/will/is/are registered marks of their respective holders or pure coincidence.