Microsoft has finally joined the mini PC craze, introducing a Windows-compatible development board dubbed Sharks Cove.
First teased during its April Build conference, the Raspberry Pi-ish device is the result of the combined efforts of Microsoft, Intel and product manufacturer CircuitCo.
It's designed to facilitate development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run Windows, such as phones, tablets and similar SoC platforms, although it can also be used for Android development.
The pint-sized PC features a 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor with integrated HD graphics, 16GB of EMMC storage, a MIPI connector for display and camera, HDMI, one USB 2.0 port and a micro-USB power port. Ethernet or wifi is available only through USB, meaning users will have to connect to the internet or other networks with a USB adapter.
At $299, the board is priced significantly higher than its Raspberry Pi or Arduino board counterparts. Microsoft said the price covers the cost of the hardware, a Windows 8.1 image, and the slightly vague "utilities" required to apply it to the Sharks Cove.
Still, Microsoft hopes the board will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors and hardware enthusiasts willing to shell out eight times the cost of the $35 Raspberry Pi Model B. Even Intel's own Galileo board, which also targets developers, is significantly cheaper.
Microsoft ended its Sharks Cove blog post like this:
We're very excited and proud of the work done to make the Sharks Cove a reality. We are looking forward to seeing the amazing things that can be done with these boards!