The next mbed

20 Aug 2010

On registering here one of the first things that became apparent to me is that the mbed compiler and interface is designed to be compatible with multiple microcontrollers.   There's already been two main models, one with the ARM7 and now the Cortex-M3.    I imagine you industrious fellows have already begun work on the next microcontroller, so my curiosity is tickled wondering what we can look forward to in the future.   I know people often like to keep these kind of things somewhat secretive, but there's got to be some news you can give us about the planned future of this great project.

For those of you not actually employed by mbed what hardware and features would you be excited for in the next model of the mbed?   I imagine mbed could always move up to a more powerful ARM processor, maybe even add the possibility of multicore.   And I imagine there's a crowd that would be interested in Arduino shield compatibility (maybe just a breakout board).

So what do you see in the future of mbed?

21 Aug 2010

I think the 1768 is going to stay for a while. I feel like there is still a lot the mbed team can do to improve and expand on the functionality and performance.

Although, for the next hardware release, it would be nice to see some of the features that are currently left out to be made available (QEI comes to mind..)

Let's hear from the team regarding the future of mbed...

21 Aug 2010

The only thing I would like is more memory (SRAM), ideally 128+ kB, but this isn't really possible due to availability of suitable silicon. I think the rest of the setup is pretty nice! It'd also be cool to see a Freescale Kinetis mbed (with hardware floating point!) at some stage, but they aren't even shipping yet AFAIK.

I don't really think a significantly more powerful mbed in its current bare-metal form would necessarily make sense; if the processor could no longer reasonably be considered a "microcontroller", or if it had multiple cores, I'd probably find it much more useful to have a proper operating system on it. But if it had an operating system, it would be much harder for the mbed guys to offer such simple, elegant access to external hardware (the APIs would have to deal with locking, exclusive access by one thread/process, sharing hardware between different processes etc). I have no doubt it could be done, but it does considerably change the whole idea of what an mbed is.


21 Aug 2010

We may see a smaller, cheaper variant with a pricepoint that competes head on with the arduino. Maybe a larger, more powerful variant as well. Look out for an announcement at ESC Boston on 20-23 September!  I have no inside knowledge - this is just a guess.

22 Aug 2010

The thing I would like to see is a feature like the "chipview" on the lpcxpresso 1768. That is a cool feature and it can save a lot of time an double checking when something doesnt work.