Microsoft and its maker community partners want to make it easier for hardware hackers, makers and burgeoning internet of things (IoT) developers to create solutions using Windows 10 IoT Core, the lightweight variant of the flagship operating system for connected devices.
Building on its existing relationship with the Adafruit marketplace, Microsoft announce the availability of a new Windows 10 IoT Core Starter Kit. Packaged with the newer and faster Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer this time around, Microsoft boasts that the updated bundle sells for $114.95, or the same amount as its predecessor.
Released earlier this year, Raspberry Pi 3 features integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing users to connect the device to networks and peripherals without add-on modules. (The original Starter Kit shipped with a Raspberry Pi 2 computing board.) Buyers can also expect a 50 to 60 percent improvement in 32-bit application performance, due in part to a 1.2GHz quad-core chip from Broadcom using the Cortex-A53 design from ARM.
The Windows 10 IoT-compatible hardware ecosystem is also extending into the Grove modular electronics platform, announced Steve Teixeira, general manager of the Microsoft Windows Partner Application Experience group
"The newest kit available is from Seeed Studio, called the Grove Starter Kit for IoT based on Raspberry Pi, builds on the great design work that Seeed and their partner Dexter Industries have done around the Grove connector," wrote Teixeira in a blog post. "It utilizes a common connector from the large array of available sensors to simplify the task of connecting to the device platform."
Taking a Lego-like approach to building electronics, the Grove System encompasses a wide range of modules, from air quality sensors and accelerometers to a mini camera and informational OLED displays. Rather than soldering components into place, IoT device makers in training can simply plug the desired modules into the GrovePi+ board.
The Seeed Kit includes a GrovePi+ board, a 5-inch LCD screen and a smattering of Grove sensors and actuators. It sells for $149.99 in the Microsoft Store. The required Raspberry Pi is sold separately.
Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation also jumped on the starter kit bandwagon.
To commemorate the shipment of its 10 millionth Raspberry Pi computer card, the group released its first official starter kit last month. "This is an unashamedly premium product: the latest Raspberry Pi, official accessories, the best USB peripherals we could find, and a copy of the highest-rated Raspberry Pi book," said Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton in a Sept. 8 announcement.
The kit includes a Raspberry Pi 3 (Model B), optical mouse, keyboard, power supply, 8GB SD card containing NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software), an official case and a copy of the foundation's book, "Adventures in Raspberry Pi."
Earlier this month, the Raspberry Pi Foundation attended Maker Faire New York to showcase its PIXEL desktop environment. Short for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight, PIXEL now ships with the group's Raspbian OS image.