MediaTek is dipping its toe in the market for makers and builders. The company recently showed off its newest offering at the Wearable World Congress. MediaTek put together the LinkIt One development kit, which is a reasonably priced ($79 USD) kit designed for entrepreneurs to make devices ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables. The chip on the board is tiny, only about the size of a fingernail. Its diminutive size leaves space to integrate additional hardware, and its relatively powerful specs would make it a good fit for small devices, like smart coffee makers.
The LinkIt One dev kit uses an Aster 2502 chipset which has 4MB of flash memory and 4MB of RAM. The chip also supports GMS cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth LE. LinkIt One is also compatible with Arduino. According to the VP of MediaTek Labs, Marc Naddell, “Pretty much anything you want to do with [the Internet of Things] in home or a wearable product, you use this board to design your product.”
MediaTek’s push behind the LinkIt One signals a recognition of garage developers and entrepreneurs who are working after-hours on “the next big thing.” MediaTek’s chips are mostly found in electronics devices like smartphones and media players due to contracts with large tech companies.
The chip market for makers might be small, but it’s definitely competitive. Earlier this month we saw a new Raspberry Pi competitor, CHiP, create a $9 computing board. The project blew its Kickstarter goal out of the water and has since raised over $1.7 million USD.
The developer kit as already found some small successes in independently developed projects. One of the devices to debut at Maker Faire UK which used MediaTek’s LinkIt One dev kit was a homebrew kit. In it, the chip and a connected sensor helped turn water (and other ingredients) into wine by monitoring things like temperature, pH level, and alcohol content. It will be interesting to see what new ways makers can incorporate the kit into builds, or if they decide to go the route of CHip and Raspberry Pi instead.