Several of us have been wondering why Atmel doesn't "beef up" its Arduino family with a faster processor and more SRAM, which has been a bottleneck forever.
Although there is some limited collaboration, for the most part Atmel (Microchip) just makes the chips. It's up to Arduino to decide which of those chips are put on boards and add Arduino IDE support for those boards.
If someone comes out with a fast processor with more flash and SRAM
Compared to what? The Mega or the Zero?
Finally, is there anyone...anywhere...who wouldn't like to see a native symbolic debugger as part of the IDE?
I'm interested in this but there is a delicate balance between adding useful features to the Arduino IDE and keeping it beginner friendly. I think this can be done but it will take some care.
I've also previously thought of the cost of AVR debuggers as being prohibitive to their use by the average hobbyist. $130 for an Atmel ICE is nothing to a professional but to a hobbyist that's a big chunk of change when Serial.println() is free. Now I see Atmel throws a debugger on their $8.88 AVR eval boards. Maybe the performance is not great but they're essentially giving the thing away. I see you can get the firmware .hex file from their website. It would be interesting to see whether it is possible to flash that to a Pro Micro and use it as a standalone debugger.
I think this is a place where Atmel could get involved and really make a difference. You have an entire generation of future embedded systems engineers getting started without proper tools. Atmel/Microchip is in the business of selling microcontrollers, not debuggers, so why do they keep this debugger stuff so proprietary? Making it more accessible would only benefit their real business.
I'd be happy just to have an easy path to an open source, lightweight, cross platform AVR debugger software solution (not Atmel Studio!) outside of the Arduino IDE. The parts are already there to some extent but putting them together is a huge nightmare. Just look at this thread:
Here's someone very experienced with computers, programming, and microcontrollers. Someone who owns multiple professional quality debuggers and has used them with Atmel Studio. Someone who received extensive assistance on this project from other professionals. Yet they spent 2 months working on it, apparently without success. And note this was just their latest in multiple attempts. I just don't understand why this is so difficult. Arduino has proven it doesn't need to be this way.