Android Things has support for 3 different board kits out of the gate here with more on the way. The main features all the kits have in common are onboard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and power efficiency. In previous generations of development boards they did not come with onboard Wi-Fi. It was another thing you had to add on in the form of a USB adapter or esp8266.
First up is the Intel Edison originally released in 2014. If you have not worked with an Intel Edison board before the actual chip has very tiny pinouts so it is mostly seen combined with a breakout board of some sort to make the connectors more accessible. The Intel Edison board is powered by a dual core atom running at 500mhz. Keep in mind that because this is an Intel board this is an x86 chip not an ARM chip that you normally see in these development boards. This kit is a solid choice depending on what project you are wanting to use it for. Although this Intel chip is nearly 2 years old Intel boards have a certain dependability and there has been time for the price to come down. At the time of this writing the Edison can be found for under $50 not including a breakout board. Another Intel board that is currently in the approval pipeline for Android Things is the Intel Joule 570x. It promises to be considerably more powerful than the Edison with a 64-bit Atom running at 1.5 GHz and 4GB of memory and 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage.
Next up is the NXP Pico i.MX6UL based on the ARM Cortex-A7 Core. This kit from NXP seems more geared for embedded applications and ready to scale. If you wanted to power your next Kickstarter idea with one of these you could. This board along with the Intel Edison have 4 gigs of onboard storage. Some of the suggested applications for this board include: locks, door controls, fire alarms, appliances, lighting, moisture or temperature sensors. The other NXP board in the approval pipeline is NXP Argon i.MX6UL which looks like an expanded breakout board with a ton more connection options.
The last board in available kits is the Raspberry Pi 3 which is already a favorite platform for a variety of projects. This version of the Raspberry Pi runs an ARM Cortex-A53 at 1.2GHz and unlike the other 2 kits mentioned here does not have onboard storage so it does require a micro SD card. This kit is a great option for a number of reasons. With one of the largest online communities, support is not hard to find. It is also the least expensive option among these kits. Although this is great for personal projects you might run into problems trying to scale up a Kickstarter idea with this. That’s why some guys designed their own development board for that purpose calling it the Chip. There are also a variety of component kits available that include basic jumper cables and LEDs from the likes of Adafruit and Sparkfun.
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