This is why we picked Arduino--it's taking over the world!

A fun analysis by Sparkfun on the world domination of Arduino over the past couple years. More people are searching for it than even the once-dominant Microchip (maker of the PIC chips). No wonder that Sparkfun reports that: "Microchip wanted to meet with us because they were interested in creating an 'Arduino' like board using a PIC processor. Microchip finally began to understand what it means to get people early, and using their hardware, and Microchip was sensing (rightfully) that they were losing market share to this thing called Arduino. "

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Comment by Baphomet on December 30, 2009 at 1:31am
I think that the real success of the Arduino is because it relies on excellent, free and open source tools like the gcc compiler for the AVR family. You can find hundreds of free schemes on the web based on PIC micros with, or even more capabilities than Arduino, but if you haven't a free tool from you can program it easily... people don't want to waste time learning assembly languaje for their homebrew projects. Even if you can get free PICs from Microchip!
Comment by Varga András on December 30, 2009 at 1:31am
This is because noone wants to buy demo and eval boards for development (Microchip produces dozens of these). The wiring of a demo board cannot be changed- I won't buy another board for about 100 USD if I have an MCU stamp which has only the "vegetative" parts (crystal, power management, prog. interface) and it's no big deal connecting extra stuff to it on a breadboard.
Comment by Marv2097 on December 30, 2009 at 3:09am
Its hard to compare Aduino to Microhip, comparing AVR's to PICs and the PIC is far easier to get started in IMHO. I started in assembly and bought a cheap kit to start programming. Much easier than I have found AVRs to be. All the PIC tools I use for my projects are free including the C compiler.

Aduino on the other hand wraps the AVR in something much easier to use learn and develop and its openness makes it appealing to people. There are a lot of projects out there on Arduino that could be a lot simpler, cheaper and smaller if they used a custom PCB with an MCU, but then the people that developed these would maybe not have done so if it wasnt for Arduino.

For me Arduino and its associated tools empowers people to make things they might not have thought they could make before. Its a different way of doing things, i just wish there was a PIC version ;)

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on December 30, 2009 at 5:01am
"PIC is far easier to get started in IMHO" {than AVR}
This is strictly American point of view. In EU the situation is statistically reversed: availability, university penetration, manufacturing plants are in EU.
In Poland the situation is extreme: almost impossible to get fast and cheap more advanced PICs, while AVR and ATMEGAs are stocked in thousands (1K-20K pieces).
Comment by Marv2097 on December 30, 2009 at 5:08am
Im based in the UK and until the last couple of months I could get free samples of most parts very quickly. As this is not currently available I purchase them from Microchip direct and find they arrive quickly, there is also RS and Farnell who stock these but are more costly for next day delivery.

Im not sure why they have stopped free samples to EU at the moment but I hope it comes back soon.
Comment by Michael Zaffuto on December 30, 2009 at 7:16am
Standard hardware, standard pre-programmed bootloader is key. Arduino is gaining traction due to its' fixed stable defined hardware platforms, the pinouts and connectors become a standard, standardization allows everyone to start on the same page. This is the stuff that shields are based on. The second most critical factor is a pre-programmed bootloader, simple cable for programming. The arduino libraries are just as important for quick start and support of the hardware in a standard way.

The microcontroller itself has the least influence on its success by design. Arduino hardware abstracts away the micro and redefines and renames the pinouts. Referring to the micro's data sheet isn't or shouldn't be necessary...and that is what beginners want.
Comment by dionh on December 30, 2009 at 8:45am
This is very interesting, in SA Pics is used a lot you can find the in most electronic shops whereas Atmel is very poorly supported.
There has been some effort for a pic board its called Pinguino is an Arduino-like board based on a PIC Microcontroller. The IDE looks the same but its written in Python
I think unless Microchip brings out a descent free C compiler for their 8 Bit uC and a easy way to program like the Arduino , the Arduino will be the choice for the hobbyist

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 30, 2009 at 9:36am
Having now struggled through the Microchip dev tools installation process for the second time, I think its hybrid hardware/software business model is its main problem. It's not just selling chips, but also trying to make money from its software, so they're proprietary and constantly badgering you to upgrade to expensive paid versions. The marketplace reaction the Pickit 3 fiasco (assuming that all of its failings were actually sneaky efforts to charge for firmware upgrades) is another example of this.

Atmel, on the other hand, has a much cleaner business model. It sells hardware. Its development tools are free and simple as a result.

Not surprisingly, we decided to adopt the same business model here at DIY Drones. We sell atoms and give away bits, following the marginal cost economics of the two domains. I think it's a cleaner approach, and better for product adoption. Atmel's success seems to be confirming that.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on December 30, 2009 at 11:41am
You'll learn that there is no loyalty in the semiconductor business. Someday Atmel (Arduino) will be replaced by someone else & we'll be reading about how Atmel lost market share because of its broken business model. It was that way with Zilog, Intel & Motorola. The semiconductor business seems to be dictated by something more fundamental than the cost of the software.
Comment by Aaron Buckner on December 30, 2009 at 9:10pm
There seems to be much more of a hobby/personal use crowd gathering, due I think caused by the DIY/Make environment as of late (of which I am one I am recent convert) but this has been the easiest way to get into electronics simply because of the overwhelmingly open and helpful communities that have evolved recently all across the internet. Arduino is one of the many tools in the Open communities, certainly one of the shining examples.


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