With the release of the Leonardo recently, we see the Arduino team's choice of going with the ATmega32u4 as a much more superior and cheaper alternative to the Atmega328 for various reasons which I won't go into here.
While I agree with most of the reasons, my one main gripe with the choice is the fact that the microcontroller is an SMD as opposed to a through hole. Here're the problems that I see with that choice:
- Prototyping: Becomes difficult. Can't use a breadboard to prototype a standalone with the microcontroller
- Reuseability: With the UNO, I could use the same board to push a bootloader onto a new $3 ATmega328, flash a program and use it in a standalone stripboard. Can't do the same with the ATmega32u4. I'll need to buy a new $25 Arduino board and solder it into the project I wish to make
These are problems a newbie, the Arduino's target audience, is likely to face since SMD soldering isn't as easy as through hole soldering.
Again, while I do understand the benefits of the choice, I don't really have much of a need of most of the features it provides. I'm sure there would be a few others also with the same problems. Can these be resolved with the leonardo? For example, is there a through hole variant for the ATmega32u4? I could continue using the Uno, as I will at the moment, but is there any other way?