Go Down

Topic: Why isn't this board more widely available and more importantly, cheaper?!! (Read 636 times) previous topic - next topic

DryRun

The Wifi rev2 board has a lot more features and higher specs compared to an Arduino UNO R3 and yet, it is relatively harder to find compared to the UNOs and Nanos, and additionally, it is VERY expensive compared to the other Arduinos and together with all the clones out there. So, i have a few questions:

1. Why isn't the Wifi rev2 available at a cheaper and more maker-friendly price?
2. Why aren't there clones available for it? And also variations? Such as already-available custom versions of the UNO and Nano, etc made by other companies? Is the design for the wifi rev2 closed-source?
3. Why don't you pack a Bluetooth LE module into it to further increase its relevancy with current wireless trends?

pert

it is relatively harder to find compared to the UNOs and Nanos
It's a very new board. I'd guess that if it's adopted successfully by the Arduino community the availability will get better. Of course you may argue how can it be adopted by the community if they can't get it?

it is VERY expensive compared to the other Arduinos
You said yourself it has a lot more features compared to the Uno and Nano. The parts cost for an Uno WiFi Rev2 is much higher than those boards.

and together with all the clones out there.
The clones will always be cheaper than the official Arduino boards. All the clone manufacturers need to do is send the design files off. They didn't need to pay skilled electrical engineers to design the hardware from scratch. They didn't need to pay skilled software engineers to provide a high level of support for the products. They didn't need to pay skilled technical writers to produce documentation. They didn't need to pay Italian manufacturers to make the boards in compliance with strict environmental standards. The didn't need to charge shipping costs which are far higher than the subsidized rates from China. When you buy an official board, you are supporting Arduino's ability to do work that helps all members of this community, regardless of where they bought their board. When you buy a clone, that money just goes to keeping the clone manufacturer in business. Very few of the clone manufacturers contribute in any way to the Arduino project.

Is the design for the wifi rev2 closed-source?
Not at all. The design files are available for download right there on the Documentation tab of the product page:
https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-uno-wifi-rev2
The licensing is CC BY-SA. Feel free to make one and sell it for a lower price if you like.

3. Why don't you pack a Bluetooth LE module into it to further increase its relevancy with current wireless trends?
The u-blox NINA W102 module used to provide WiFi communication also does BLE:
https://www.u-blox.com/en/product/nina-w10-series

Juraj


westfw

Quote
2. Why aren't there clones available for it? And also variations? Such as already-available custom versions of the UNO and Nano, etc made by other companies?
The economics of "cloning" are complex.  I would guess that since UnoWiFi2 uses a bunch of new chips (ATmega4809, mEDBG, Crypto Chip, IMU) and modules (UBlox WiFi/BLE), those are not easily and cheaply available in the countries that produce cheap clones.   Someone could clone the board, but it would  NOT be dramatically cheaper like the Nano derivatives while still maintaining similar functionality, and wouldn't sell very well.  (sort-of similar to the Teensy3.2 "clones" (?) you can find on AliExpress - somewhat more expensive than you can get them from US vendors...)

As for variations (loosely speaking):


AVR-IOT WG Development Board
(on sale now!)  ATmega4808 with WiFi module.
ATmega4809 Xplained Pro
ATmega4809 Curiosity Nano At $10, a cheap "Nano-like" board.  Includes debugger chip.  No network, though.

All of those will take "some effort" to make worth the Arduino IDE.

DryRun

Thank you all for the explanations.

On the product page: https://store.arduino.cc/arduino-uno-wifi-rev2
There is no mention of  BLE or bluetooth, and i think this is a BIG mistake especially since the board supports it and this feature should definitely be stated on the 'Overview' page and not just mentioning 'Wi-Fi' since it easily misleads into believing that there is no Bluetooth support and we'll just click away to somewhere else to find a Bluetooth-supported Arduino board.

I believe that with the soaring popularity of ESP modules which are sold much cheaper and also are more powerful than Arduinos (i'm not sure if i'm allowed to mention ESP here? if not, i will edit my post) which work perfectly fine with the Arduino IDE and have integrated WiFi and BLE, this is undoubtedly slowing down the adoption of Arduino MKR boards and the Uno Wi-Fi Rev 2. I wonder if there is a solution to this? How does Arduino co-exist with ESPs when they seem to be taking over the world like a storm, especially with the rise of wireless control and communication with makers and hobbyists, for IoT, etc.

Juraj

the Uno WiFi has ESP32 on board for WiFi and BLE. and MKR 1010 and 4000 have it too. (I think it is ESP32 version with only one 'core')

pert

Just to expand on what Juraj said, the u-blox NINA W102 module on the board is an ESP32.

There is no mention of  BLE or bluetooth, and i think this is a BIG mistake especially since the board supports it and this feature should definitely be stated on the 'Overview' page and not just mentioning 'Wi-Fi' since it easily misleads into believing that there is no Bluetooth support and we'll just click away to somewhere else to find a Bluetooth-supported Arduino board.
It actually used to say that, but that was before there was any Bluetooth support in the firmware (it was of course supported in the hardware for anyone who wanted to supply their own firmware) and someone complained about it. I guess they removed mention of Bluetooth from the description in response to that complaint. You'll notice that in the thread Juraj linked they say it's "initial" Bluetooth support and the library is in beta. So it may be that they want to wait for the support to be more stable before making any claims about Bluetooth. Arduino users tend to have an expectation that a very beginner friendly experience will be provided, not a "well the hardware supports it, read the datasheet and good luck to you".

i'm not sure if i'm allowed to mention ESP here? if not, i will edit my post
Sure, you can mention ESP here. We have thousands, of threads on this forum dedicated to exclusively to providing support for ESP8266 and ESP32, as well as much other 3rd party hardware.

How does Arduino co-exist with ESPs
Well, you could certainly say they're co-existing quite well right there on several of Arduino's newest boards! I do get what you're saying though. I think there are a couple factors that can lead people to chose official Arduino hardware:

Great support: There is an expectation that when you buy an official Arduino board, you are getting high quality hardware with excellent support. I mean several things when I say "support":
  • Customer support (meaning that if something goes wrong with your order or you receive a damaged product, the issue will be resolved promptly and professionally).
  • Official documentation
  • Official software support: Hardware core and libraries.
  • Community support: 3rd party libraries, example sketches, forum help, tutorials, youtube videos, etc.

If you compare the support for an ESP32 board you buy from Aliexpress to an Arduino Uno purchased from the Arduino Store, there is no contest. Sure, the Uno is 5X more expensive and has less performance and features, but for a beginner it can be well worth spending an extra $20 and doing without some features and performance you don't need anyway in exchange for a gentle learning curve. This is especially true for people who aren't born highly motivated genius engineers, for whom a bad initial experience could easily make the difference between a long rewarding journey of learning and an initial frustrating experience which causes them to decide microcontrollers are not their thing.

When it comes to the brand new Arduino boards, the distinction is not so clear cut. Community support takes time. If you come here with a question about an Uno, you're going to get immediate help from multiple people. If you have a question about an Arduino Pro Gateway, you might not get any response because likely none of the forum regulars even own or even know what it is. Likewise with a Google search. Official documentation and software support also takes time. Arduino needs to balance the need to get the support stable against the need to get the products out on the market before the competition is thoroughly established. It's a delicate balance. For an experienced user, getting a board when the official support is still in a beta stage is great because it means we have an opportunity to contribute to the development work. But for a beginner who thinks "I want to buy an Uno, but why not spend a little bit more to get one with WiFi?", without realizing what they're getting themselves in for, it's not an ideal situation.

The other factor, which I've already mentioned, is that buying Arduino boards supports Arduino. As long as Arduino continues doing good things, there will be people who will want to support that.

Paul__B

One obvious reason is that it is such a niche market.

Why?

Well, for what is it actually useful?

If you want WiFi, you use an ESP8266 or the ESP32 which this board apparently incorporates in some form.  Well, if you have an ESP32 which is vastly more powerful than an ATmega328 (or whatever it is), why would you want the latter at all?  So that it fits the UNO form factor?  How useful is that?  It is only relevant for attaching "shields" for that form factor and frankly, they are not very exciting for applications where you would want WiFi!

If you want WiFI, you generally just use an ESP8266 or ESP32 and use a board designed to breakout as many of its functions as you need.  In addition, you avoid the frequently painful need to communicate between two processors.

While not specifically "cross posting", DryRun's practice of splattering enquiries over multiple forums here makes it the more difficult to provide directed advice for his robot project!

DryRun

Thank you all for the explanations. It makes sense to me now about the Wifi rev2 and i think i will stick to the Arduino until i feel more confident to tackle a more advanced board like the ESP.

While not specifically "cross posting", DryRun's practice of splattering enquiries over multiple forums here makes it the more difficult to provide directed advice for his robot project!
I am posting in the relevant forum sections based on the questions that i have, for example, i would not post this question about the Wifi rev2 board in the Project Guidance section. I am considering the options available when building my project and during the design process, i think it's better to split up my questions based on how relevant they are, instead of just bunching everything up. But i could also do that, if it speeds up the response. :)

Go Up