Windows IoT as a brand might be very new, but it has been around for decades as Windows Embedded. It is essentially a lightweight Windows ‘Core’ that can run on small-footprint devices such as a random kiosk down the street.
With Windows IoT, Microsoft wants to promote the use of Windows where it’s not thought of as very useful – the hacker and maker community. Raspberry Pi’s are an excellent foundation for this, and that’s where today’s announcements focus.
The two new Windows IoT Starter Kits are based around Raspberry Pi 3 and come bundled with a NOOBS microSD card that will let you install Windows IoT effortlessly.
Adafruit Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3
Adafruit previously sold this exact configuration – but with a Raspberry Pi 2 – for the price of $115; the price for the new bundle is same, but now it comes with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.
You can also buy the pack without the Raspberry Pi 3 for $75. This would still give you all of the same sensors, wires, LEDs, jumpers, and a case – a great deal for those who already own a Raspberry Pi 3.
Everything this pack comes with is also certified for use with Microsoft Azure, as well as other Azure certified operating systems.
You can purchase the bundle over here, as well as look at all of the details. You can obviously still just install the vanilla Raspbian on it if you don’t fancy using Windows IoT.
Grove Starter Kit for IoT based on Raspberry Pi
The folks at Grove are offering something a bit more… ‘beginner friendly.’ The Grove Connector works pretty much like Lego – you connect sensors, and they work. This removes the hassle of soldering wires to the standard pin connectors on a Raspberry Pi board.
It is a novel idea, but it doesn’t come cheap. The Grove Starter Kit for IoT doesn’t come with a Raspberry Pi; at the cost of $150, it would need to pack some great sensors to be worth it.
And it does; it comes with an array of sensors and modules you can easily use, thanks to the Grove connectors – including a 5-inch LCD screen – but it is essentially a pack of accessories and modules for your Raspberry Pi, rather than a starter kit with a Raspberry Pi.
All the components in this bundle are also certified for use with Microsoft Azure, as well as other Azure certified operating systems.
IoT is still taking baby steps, but with the rise of home automation, it’s only going to get bigger and better. Hopefully, the next generation would be tech-savvy enough to automate some parts of their homes by themselves.