LaunchPad: Q&A session with MSP430 product marketing manager, Adrian Fernandez.


Texas Instruments LaunchPad
LaunchPad Q and A
Following up on our post about Texas Instrument’s new development platform LaunchPad, we sent some questions to TI Media Relations about some concerns members of the community have expressed.  MSP430 product marketing manager, Adrian Fernandez was kind enough to answer the questions for us. So without further delay let’s get on to the answers.
Q:  How much of the LaunchPad is Opensource? IE: Will the design files be made public for people to create their own boards?
 A: The entire LaunchPad board is completely open sourced. We provide downloadable Gerber files, schematics (eagle files), which can be used as a starting point for customer’s own hardware solutions.
Q: Are there any plans for add on boards similar to the "shields" that the arduinio uses?
A: These are definitely in the plan, but we also invite customers to create their own custom solutions! LaunchPad’s break out pins use a standard spacing of 0.1 inches, so it is very easy to interface with generic prototyping boards.
Q: After the initial rush will the price go up or is the $4.30 price here to stay?
A: $4.30 is here to stay. We want to provide a very thorough, simple, and affordable introduction to the world of MSP430 MCUs. With such an affordable and complete kit, our goal is to make the MSP430 MCU portfolio’s 16-bit performance and ultra-low power functionality easily accessible.
Q:  Why did TI not chose to implement the board with a uC that has more flash? Its competitors in the hobby market start with 16k and go up from there.
A: LaunchPad currently supports the MSP430 MCU Value Line devices that are available today, which scale between 0.5kB to 2kB of flash. Our Value Line MCU roadmap shows 100+ devices, which will introduce larger memory sizes up to 16kB, more GPIO pins, and increased analog and digital peripheral integration. Additionally, LaunchPad’s integrated DIP target socket allows users to quickly drop in ANY MSP430 Value Line MCU in the DIP package. Many of our competitors in this price point solder their microcontroller device directly on the board – this limits the developer’s flexibility and forces designers to use the form factor of the kit. LaunchPad enables increased flexibility, which allows developers to evaluate various MCUs and decide to use LaunchPad as a standalone system to leverage on-board pushbuttons and LEDs, or remove the Value Line MCU to be plugged into a custom PCB or breadboard.
So what do we think about the LaunchPad? We are going to reserve that for another post. We have an order placed for a few and once we have some hands on time with it, we will be sure to post our thoughts.
If you have any followup questions about the LaunchPad, that you would like us to ask TI, please email them to us via our contact page.



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