Dev board with lots of options carries a small price tag

December 28, 2015 OpenSystems Media

If you’re a regular reader, you’re aware of my affinity for development boards/kits. I have a stable of them in my home office (which my wife often reminds me looks somewhat like a stable). The latest board in my collection is the MediaTek LinkIt Smart 7688 development platform. It’s the newest addition to the company’s LinkIt portfolio series of boards.

One of things I like about boards like the LinkIt Smart 7688 is that offers a variety of programming options, and can be used to develop advanced Wi-Fi based devices, including IP cameras, surveillance devices, smart appliances and Wi-Fi gateways that make use of cloud services. The MediaTek Cloud Sandbox is available for data collection, visualization, and analytics during product development.

Two versions of the platform’s hardware development kit (HDK) are available, and both are extremely low cost: the base 7688, which sells for $12.90, includes a microprocessor that’s based on MediaTek MT7688AN system-on-chip (SoC). The 7688 Duo, which includes a second processor, costs $15.90. The Duo is also Arduino compatible. Both boards feature integrated Wi-Fi, 128 Mbytes of RAM, 32 Mbytes of flash memory, and a bunch of options to connect peripherals.

MediaTek claims that the platform is mainly geard for three developer communities: OpenWrt, Web and mobile app developers, and Arduino. Developers can use the standard OpenWrt SDK to create native C applications for their IoT devices, taking advantage of the more than 2000 available software packages.

For web and mobile app developers, the platform offers an easy route into IoT development thanks to support for Node.js and Python. Finally, just using the 7688 Duo, makers can use the popular Arduino IDE to develop applications and have real-time peripheral control.

Both boards are available immediately from Seeed Studio. MediaTek is currently developing a fully open-source version of the Wi-Fi driver. They expect it to be available in the first quarter of 2016.

Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director
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