Why ATMEL and not Microchip

Why is Arduino based on Atmel and not on Microchip?Can anyone explain? Thanks

Because that is what the designers thought. Also it had a good free C++ cross compiler and the Microchip one cost a fortune.

And avr-libc as well. However, see ChipKit...

You would have to ask the designers.

But for me the move from Microchip to Atmel was very much facilitated by the fact that it uses g++ and not some proprietary compiler that they charge you to use.

Let's put it this way, the g++ compiler is what Apple uses for its iMac, iPhone, iPad etc.

It is also used for developing on Linux. It works well, it generates good code. It's free.

Under the circumstances, for another manufacturer to think they have a better compiler, and try to charge for it, is rather ... ah ... well, words fail me.

In fact the whole idea of manufacturers (eg. Microchip, Microsoft) charging developers for the compilers which are needed to add value to their products is a little surprising, and if I may say, a little arrogant.

Doesn't MPLABX come with some free compilers? What I like about MPLABX is its diversity: it supports everything from tiny 8 pin PICs to 100+ pin PIC32s and dsPICs. It isn't as easy to use as Arduino, however...

The performance advantage AVR had over PIC is no longer true - if anything, it has actually reversed. The dsPIC33F series can run at up to 40 MIPS in a 28 pin DIP package. I'm not aware of any other (bare and in production) chip that powerful in a breadboard-friendly package.

40 MIPS LED blinking! That'd make for some mighty long delay times ...

NiHaoMike: Doesn't MPLABX come with some free compilers?

Yes, and likewise Microsoft offer "Lite" versions of their compilers. However from the Microchip web site:

The Lite compilers are freeware compilers provided as a low-cost tool for all purposes. These compilers have no time or memory limitations, however most code optimizations will be restricted.

The Standard compiler is $495, and the Pro compiler is $1195.

So I suppose if you don't mind un-optimized code (bearing in mind you might be trying to squeeze into minimal program memory, and run as fast as possible) then the free compiler could be OK.

But I don't personally like investing a lot of time understanding their system, only to find limitations that "oh if only you had the proper compiler" would go away.

What would likely soon dominate the world of low cost development boards would be the Raspberry Pi - up to 700MHz ARM CPU and 1080p video playback for just $25. That is, if it actually manages to come out for that price with a reasonable availability... (Yes, it's overkill for almost any hobbyist project, but it's cheap...)