Small form factor board, with a STM32L151 ARM Cortex M3 for around 5 dollars. This is the target of the MCHCK development board. The board was designed to be cheap enough so that you can develop a project with it, and not have to re-purpose it for the next project, but get a new one instead. Read about the design points below.
Small. The Arduino is huge. It is just way bulky for many purposes. Also you can’t breadboard with it. Ok, now there is the Pro Mini or the Teensy. Yes, that’s the form factor I want. Small form factor allows more use cases.
Cheap. Well, there you have it. Every Arduino sets you back about $20. The mbed costs way more. Ok, the MSP430 Launchpad costs $5, but then it is… well, the Launchpad. But $5 sounds good. At $5, you don’t have to ponder anymore whether your silly idea is really worth it. $20 might be too much to measure when the postman delivers letters (plot it over the year?). Or instead, you decide to take apart your Arduino rig that was used to count how often you open the fridge door, and use it for the mailbox instead; you all know the drill — $20 makes you stingy (“frugal”). $5 always goes. Low price fosters creativity.
Powerful. Because, sometimes, an AVR is just a bit slow. And really, getting an obscenely expensive FTDI cable every time you want to interface your microcontroller with a PC? Then all this serial console business, 10 different FTDI COM/ttyUSB ports… So what we need is enough computing power and easy interfacing with PCs. Modern ARM MCU with integrated USB transceiver! With a bit of supplied library code, implementing a USB device is a breeze. HID, mass storage, serial port. Easy interfacing with the PC. Powerful modern MCUs allow for easier development and usability.
Via the forum.