thanks for your nice words, and the feedback about using Arduino boards rather than fully embedding Arduino compatibility in our own board.
We’ve been thinking a lot about this, and we keep debating the pros and cons internally. I’m more than happy to share our point of view here.
You’re right that some people could consider using an actual Arduino board a downside but, in our opinion, it should be just the opposite.
The quality of original Arduino boards (hold your breath for a second about the recent issues within Arduino and their factory) is actually very, very good. We tested Arduino Uno and Ethernet way beyond all relevant CE certification limits and we have been very pleased with the results.
Embedding an Arduino clone in our board would be beneficial in other areas, like smaller size and possibly lower cost, but will not necessarily improve the real quality and reliability of the product. And designing our product as a shield, adds the flexibility of using the same iono board with multiple Arduino boards.
For example, iono uno and iono ethernet are just the same board, and the only difference is the Arduino board itself and the enclosure’s faceplate.
Of course the real downside of using a separate Arduino is that we now depend on Arduino to deliver these boards with a consistent quality and no unanticipated design changes.
The issues between some of the Arduino founders and their historical manufacturing partner are indeed very relevant for our product, and may add weight to the side of embedding our own Arduino clone in future versions of iono, if not solved quickly. And if we have to change the source of the Arduino boards, we would have to rework the CE certification.
Bottom line, the pros of using original Arduino boards are flexibility and time to market when a new board becomes available (think Arduino Zero), while the benefits of embedding are smaller size, reduced mechanical complexity, slightly lower product cost, and being fully independent from Arduino as boards manufacturer.
The overall product quality is more in people's perception rather than actual fact, and indeed we’ve so far received opposite feedbacks, with some people appreciating our use of original boards, and others rising the same concerns you have stated in your comments.
Thanks once again for your feedback.