Microsoft has recently announced a pretty exciting new device that’s aimed at developers who’d like to create software and drivers for Windows devices, including phones and tablets.
The so-called Sharks Cove is a Raspberry Pi-like device that comes in the form of an Atom-powered Windows board created as part of a partnership between Microsoft, Intel, and hardware manufacturer CircuitCo.
As far as specifications are concerned, the device comes with an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor with a speed of 1.33 GHz and up to 1.83 GHz in turbo mode, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of supported flash storage, as well as a microSD port for additional storage.
As compared to the Raspberry Pi, however, Microsoft’s new development board is a little bit more expensive and can be yours for $299 (€225). A Raspberry Pi is available online for as low as $35 (€25), but Microsoft says that the price difference isn’t so big when taking into account the really advanced capabilities that the Sharks Cove can bring to you. At the same time, it also comes with a Windows 8.1 image to let you start development work faster.
“At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike. That price not only covers the cost of the hardware but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove,” the company said.
“When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.”
Since it’s a completely new product, Microsoft has promised to provide more information on the Sharks Cove in the coming weeks, including a series of posts that would help developers create drivers.
“Among our planned posts, we will have series of posts from our summer college intern describing his introduction to driver development and using the Sharks Cove and the User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) to develop a sensor driver. We’ll also give a behind-the-scenes peek at how all of this came together, as well as a variety of other posts that feature the Sharks Cove,” the company noted.
If you’d like to preorder a Sharks Cove right now, you can do it online at Mouser Electronics, but at this point, there are no details on shipping dates.