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Is it just me or tonight TI doubled LaunchPad price?

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I'm a little afraid that I'll step into a big pile here, but I wanted to offer a couple of nuggets *please keep in mind that I usually only deal with University Partners, so I come from a slightly uni

You forgot one:   - TI's lack off an effort in truly contributing to MSPGCC and MSPDebug or its developers.  (By the way - I'd like to thank Peter Bigot, Daniel Beer, and everyone else who's worked

I'm going to use this price increase as an excuse to find something better. I've long put up with all the warts on the msp430 because of the price. At $4.30 I felt like it needed a hand from the commu

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Throwing my 2 cents in....


The previously mentioned FRDM-KL25Z Freescale Freedom development board (ARM M0) is now supported by the MBED online compiler and libraries.  It even competes well with the Stellaris launchpad as it has an accelerometer on board.  Also, the folks at MBED also just recently made thier SDK open source.

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Yeah I do not know . . . I still like the MSP430 launchpad platform, and even at 10 bux it has a lot to offer. The on board programmer / debugger for the price is still very good. Granted at this point I am just a hobbyist, and have not looked at many other platforms *yet*.


That being said, I definitely will be looking at other platforms in the future. And in some cases where it makes sense I will definitely be using other platforms. Possibly other TI products, possibly not. Granted other launchpad platform such as the SPAD, and C2000 are very nice where they sit in price.


4 buck thirty was definitely an attraction for the MSP430 launchpad for me. We'll just have to see where the future brings us I suppose.

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Ok, this is my story: two years ago I didn't even know the meaning of the word Microcontroller (but I was programming in assembler more than 20 years ago),  then  I met Arduino and started playing with MCUs and to learn electronics, two weeks ago I met the LaunchPad thanks to a forum reply to a post, if it wasn't for the price I would never purchased one....


The low price was IMHO the unique selling point of this device, thanks to it I purchased a few more LaunchPads and gave them away for free to some friends of the local Linux User Group who are normally playing with Arduino.


Rising the price TI is vanishing in one second I don't know how many months or years of investments.


I agree that the price is still low but if you are a professional you don't care too much about the price of a dev board, if you are an hobbist (and this is clearly the rising wave!!) you would balance the price with what the community can give you and hey, LaunchPad is lightyears behind Arduino & friends, not to mention that Atmega328P gives you more pins, more RAM, an EEPROM and bigger flash.


Again, if it wasn't for the price I wouldn't be writing here (not that this would make any difference though).


Just my 4.30 $ 

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Thing is, and I do see your point. The Launchpad is still 4x less in cost when compared to the arduino, and is better in a few areas. Not to mention that the launchpad can be used as an inexpensive programmer, for other larger MSP430.


With that said, these larger MSP430 make less sense when compared to the competition in price / features on chip. It all really depends on what you want to do I suppose.


Now on the other hand, from a complete beginner standpoint, the support, as in example code, and documentation provided by TI is severely lacking. With a bit more experience with the hardware now though, some of this has cleared its self up for me personally. But at the same time, the example code becomes far less  useful. 


In fact I can not help but feel that TI is using this community, and others in a bad way to promote their hardware. Jacking up their prices, at our expense, and time invested that everyone here who has worked hard, and for free, to make this platform more friendly and diverse. 


So yeah, there are multiple aspects of how one could view this. I'll try to keep a positive attitude, but there is only so much any one person can tolerate.

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I agree that the price is still low but if you are a professional you don't care too much about the price of a dev board, if you are an hobbist (and this is clearly the rising wave!!) you would balance the price with what the community can give you and hey, LaunchPad is lightyears behind Arduino & friends, not to mention that Atmega328P gives you more pins, more RAM, an EEPROM and bigger flash.




Thing is, and I do see your point. The Launchpad is still 4x less in cost when compared to the arduino, and is better in a few areas. Not to mention that the launchpad can be used as an inexpensive programmer, for other larger MSP430.


In the $10 range you might as well as throw an ARM at it and ST and Freescale already beat TI for the price range/features.





for example...

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Hi 43oh community,


This is Adrian from the TI MCU group - wanted to chime in and confirm that the price of LaunchPad will change to $9.99. While the $4.30 promotional price of the MSP430 LaunchPad ended on March 1, 2013

  So when you said "$4.30 is here to stay.http://www.themakersworkbench.com/content/articles/launchpad-qa-session-msp430-product-marketing-manager-adrian-fernandez you meant that $4.30 is here to stay ... until promotion last? Then maybe when you say that msp430 is lowest power mcu on the market, it means that it lack performance, right?

  For $1.51 I can buy LPC1114FN28  http://components.arrow.com/part/detail/52563173S13441N7788?region=na , I can put it on breadboard and program it with $1.65 USB PL2303HX module. So I think that days of msp430 are numbered. You have to try harder keep msp430 alive.

  Only selling point of msp430 LaunchPad was it's price. When you introduce msp430 LP, price of the Arduino was 20$, now you can get from ebay Arduino(Flash 32K, RAM 2K, EEPROM  1K) with FTDI USB for under $10, so why would I buy LP?

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I think my story echoes a lot of the others.  Two years ago, my only electronics experience was with a couple of AVR's.  The Launchpad showed up on Hackaday on a dev board review - and at $4.30 - there's nothing that beats it from a price standpoint.  It was cheap enough that I didn't have to justify the cost to my wife - and it left enough money that I could spend a bit more on booster packs and other electronics to use with the board.  Not to discount the great community we have here - but Arduino has a much bigger community and support.  But because of the price difference - I could easily justify putting extra effort into learning the device and lower-level programming.  I've got some gift cards to RadioShack - and for the first time - I've considered buying an Arduino - just to see what all the fuss is about.


As far as I can tell - Energia is taking off and has the potential of making the Launchpad even bigger.  Unfortunately - pushing the price into the $10 range brings in a lot of other competition - as others have mentioned.  If the original goal of the $4.30 price was to help you stand out from the competition and attract the next generation of engineers - raising the price removes a lot of the attraction.  It may also prevent hobbyists like a lot of our forum members - who create booster packs - from getting involved - and providing support to less-experienced people.


If it all boils down to $ (which I'm guessing it is considering there was no indication of a price increase before) - then I'd suggest charging for shipping - and possibly providing a slower shipping option.  The two-day Fedex shipping must be costing you an arm and a leg.  People are more willing to pay shipping if it's not a hidden cost - and they usually get a better deal when they buy more than one.  


Unfortunately - Mouser and Digikey have already raised their prices.  As of right now - Mouser is up at $12.80, and Digikey is at $5.01.  I was hoping they'd keep their price low - but honestly - if there's no place to buy it cheaper - why would they?


I've honestly got a pretty good pile of launchpads - especially with the 5 I ordered when the price went down temporarily.  However - I'm worried that this will keep others from getting involved and that the community may dwindle over time.

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I guess we'll have to see what TI does from here on.  If they start introducing newer LP's (wolverine, newer stellaris chips, etc) at a sub-$10 price point to promote it (and produce a churn of customers drooling over their new chips at the price-point) I can see that working for them, for a while anyway. (it's a classic bait & switch though; fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!)


If $9.99 is their new price floor then I must concur with the rest of the discussion; TI's done shot themselves in the foot with a double-barrel shotgun, shedding away their main advantage over the competition, in the hobby market anyhow.  $10 for an Arduino-like platform (LP + Energia) that is lower spec than an Arduino isn't a good plan IMO.  And I think promoting the hobby market is a good way to win new professional customers--some of us may go on to create mass-produced white goods that incorporate these chips.  Pricing the MCUs in line with their capabilities is another important one too, and the recent STM vs. MSP430F5 discussion illustrates that.


That said, this thread is mostly shock & awe reaction.  I'll be yawning until 1 or 2 months from now when I'll be more interested in seeing where we all stand.

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Alas, for any TI employees who read this thread again, I must confess that I like the BoosterPack standard.  Better than Arduino anyhow.  It is a little weird that you can't really express SPI & I2C at the same time but beyond that the layout has a certain aesthetic appeal; it fits inside the 5cmx5cm footprint that most chinese PCB fabs offer for their low-end pricing tier, the 40-pin version offers 5V and Vcc (Arduino only recently added an IOref pin to their standard, while the BoosterPack you can pretty much expect the Vcc pin to be your IOref pin too), the spacing is even with no oddities like Arduino's 60mil offset in the upper headers.  And it expands "inward" (from outer to inner), plus the 80-pin LP standard offers some untapped potential IMO.


I personally hope a lot of effort is put into producing a wide range of boosterpacks based on TI's and partners' hardware.  Fwiw, I'm building LaunchPad adapters for all my non-TI chips that I play with just so I have a single standard to design for with my own homemade boards.

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I'm going to use this price increase as an excuse to find something better. I've long put up with all the warts on the msp430 because of the price. At $4.30 I felt like it needed a hand from the community to let it shine. At $9.99 you are just taking advantage of the work the rest of us have done for free.


Things I used to like about the msp430:


$4.30 with hardware debugger


Things that have bugged me from day one, that I put up with because the price was $4.30


o Lack of Linux or Mac support

o CCS v4 based on some ancient version of Eclipse and full of plugins that made it

dog slow and unreliable

o Size limited CCS

o Lack of launchpad CCS support on linux

o The tiusb3410 9600 baud limited linux nightmare of a usb -> serial interface

o lack of dip chips beyond 16k/512bytes

o Booster pack stupidity,

o Lack of standardization for the pin layouts.

o Couldn't even figure out some standard pins for SPI/I2C/UART

o Different chips use different pins for spi , uart , i2c

o Can't use i2c/spi and hw UART at the same time

o no 5 volt available from USB connection

o Spending all my time on these forums trying to explain why the Serial port doesn't work

o Wondering why they launched it with a 2k chip with no hardware UART when they were

trying to make it look like an Arduino and then being surprised when people bought them

and put them in a drawer until Energia emerged.

o Having to explain to people why an msp430g2231 really isn't the same as an atmega328

and how to get around the fact that there is no hardware uart so you have to juggle

to be able to send serial commands to a g2231 while running a servo code both using

the timer chip

o not enough ram on the chips to do useful things with sdcards or graphics displays

o msp430 chips get expensive in low quantities once you leave the value line

o msp430 chips don't really compete on a performance or price basis to ARM or PIC chips

other than with the value line chips. So you can waste a lot of time learning the architecture

only to find out that doing real world things with them is probably not the smartest


o It is actually very difficult to source msp430 chips. It took about 1 year after I got my

first msp430g2553 before I started seeing them available on http://octopart.com To be

honest, now I don't care I really want a dip chip version of a FRAM chip as that is

really the only useful msp430 chip.

o Confusing licensing schemes with regard to USB code and the msp430f5510. I decided to

not try and figure out the lawyerese and just use another usb solution after trying

to get an answer on e2e.ti.com


So did TI fix any of those problems? No, the community did.


How does TI repay the community ..


"Thanks, we got it. We'll take it from here. Oh, BTW the price is going up!"


You're welcome!



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It seems that the opinions here are unanimous.  This is a bad move for TI and has the potential to kill this project (and could even hurt this community) because it removes the MSP430 Launchpad from a segment in which *nobody* can compete.  You will never win against similarly-priced ARM Cortex boards that far exceed the performance and features of the MSP430 Launchpad.


There are very good reasons why the MSP430 Launchpad is successful.  Take a long and deep look at (lack of) the success of the C2000 Launchpad (and to a lesser degree, the Stellaris).  The C2k is hurt by TI's mismanagement of the architecture and poor support of the product for hobbyists.  It has no good reference projects.  It has no open compiler or debugger.  It has no chance to compete.  Stellaris is much better but even it cannot compete against the competition from ST or Freescale at its normal price point and feature-set.  At least it has open tools that largely make it a good option for anyone with an ARM toolchain.  The MSP430 Launchpad has always been a gateway to TI uCs, and now - why bother?


The issue is not that $10 is a bad price.  The issue is that $10 is not competitive with all of the ARM boards out there from ST, Freescale, etc.  Nor is it competitive with all of the open Arduino clones that have a much better set of tools and examples.  $4.30 is what sets it apart from the competition.  It's not Code Composer Studio, nor is it the Launchpad "ecosystem".  It's that for the price of a burger and fries (with a Coke), you can stick an MSP430 board in any project and forget about it.  TI really needn't invest in more booster packs because this community already makes some awesome booster packs.  Unless, of course, TI wants to make a $10 Ethernet board and drop the price of that new WiFi booster pack.  But I don't see that ever happening.


Like many others here that have a story, I learned to program microcontrollers on the 68HC11 and 8051.  I hadn't picked up one of my EVBs for many years until the MSP430 Launchpad came along and I was blown away by the value and this great community, that was growing very rapidly just over two years ago.  The MSP430 Launchpad surprised me, since it seemed like TI was one of the first companies that really took the hobbyist seriously.  The Launchpad team undoubtably put a great effort into this project, and now - it seems very plausible that some decisions at TI are going to cause some serious harm to all of this hard work over the past few years.

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I agree, at a price similar (or maybe even higher that) to that of the Cortex M boards (stm32F0 or KL53z) there is really no need to go into the lower segment, unless for production target ultra low power purposes (but there's the ez430 for that, right?)

I can't find a real justification for this price ration to freescale and ST.


To share my story too: I started out with AVR chips last century, I did some nice thing with it. However, when I learned to know the MSP430 architecture I started loving the elegant way that peripherals are mapped in memory. It's so much nicer than the OUT and IN commands I used back then. I still enjoy the way I can write code for the MSP430, but if I can run a RTOS with multithreading and do the same on an ARM core, why bother moving bits and bytes around (except low power)?

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