ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the Electron


#1

Dearest Spark Friends,

Today is a very exciting day! We’re proud to announce the newest addition to the Spark family — the Electron, our cellular development kit that we hope will open up the Internet of Things to a whole new category of connected products. Best of all, we’re going back to our roots and launching the Electron on Kickstarter, the same crowdfunding platform where we first met so many of you way back in May of 2013. Visit our Kickstarter campaign to pre-order an Electron and be one of the first to own this amazing addition to the Spark lineup.

The Electron works a lot like our other development kits, the Spark Core and Photon, except it connects to the Internet using a 2G or 3G cellular connection instead of Wi-Fi. This means it works anywhere your phone does, and can go wherever you need it to — your backyard, your bicycle, or your banana grove.

Back to Kickstarter

Throughout the past two years, we’ve grown our team from 4 to 24, raised venture capital, and shipped tens of thousands of Spark Cores to engineers, designers, and product creators all over the world. We’re grown up a bunch since our tender years, which begs the question —why Kickstarter?

The reason we’re so excited about the Electron is that we think the world of builders and creators really needs it. The cellular version of the Internet of Things (often called “Machine to Machine” or “M2M”) has quite a few barriers, and it’s not set up for the little guys (or even the medium-sized guys). For most companies outside of Tier 1 handset and automative manufacturers, building a cellular-connected product is nearly impossible due to opaque pricing, drawn out negotiations, high volume expectations, and complicated certifications.

We’re back on Kickstarter to change all that. Our hope is that by rallying support around a development experience that is affordable, easy to use, and open, we can disrupt the cellular industry and open up the floodgates to a new generation of incredible connected products. The best way to disrupt an industry is to raise a rumpus, and we think that Kickstarter is the perfect venue to do just that.

The campaign is now live, and we’d love if you helped us spread the word by sharing with your friends and family!

Forward looking, backwards compatible

We’re also happy to announce that the Electron provides a whole new way to connect to the world while maintaining compatibility with the accessories, software, and development tools you’re already familiar with.

With the introduction of Spark OS, the Photon, and now the Electron, Spark has become much more than the development kit we launched in 2013. We’ve got our sights set on changing the way people and things everywhere connect with one another, which is only possible with the help, enthusiasm, and support of you all.

Bottom line: we love you guys, and we’re proud and excited to take this leap into unexplored territory together.

If you have feedback, please send it to our way — we’d love to hear from you :slight_smile:

High fives all around.

Cheers and Spark love,

Zach and the Spark team


pinned globally #2

#3

Enough said :smile:


#4

Geese, I leave for a Mexican vacation and BOOM, Spark changes the world again! :smiley:


#5

Just backed, good going!


#6

awesome :smile: where do I find that country list?


#7

See the FAQs near the bottom of the campaign :smiley:


#8

Sad, it will not ship to India :frowning:


#9

I have same problem :frowning: Turkey is not shipping list.:slight_smile: i found another way , my wife parents life in austria and it will ship there:)


#10

@krvarma and @Yasin – unfortunately, cellular is a lot more complicated than Wi-Fi when it comes to international connectivity standards and compatible hardware/software. We’re rolling out the Electron via Kickstarter to a select number of countries in which we’re already confident we’ll be able to provide carrier compatibility and a high quality user experience, but don’t intend to stop with the US and EU. We’ll be pushing forward for increased international compatibility over the upcoming months, so stay tuned for updates!


#11

What is the pin layout for the Electron? On Kickstarter, it states this:

Plus, the Electron plays well with the rest of the Spark family. It’ll be a bit longer than the Photon or Core due to the size of the cellular module, but we’ve designed it in a way that allows it to be backwards compatible with our existing shields.

So its longer because of the radio, but its compatible with the existing shield. Is there a pin layout available so I can design a project for the Core but with the Electron in mind?

Thanks


#12

The design looks similar to the spark core pro :smile:


#13

This seems very interesting. Couple of questions

  1. Since its only 2G or 3G and NO wifi - does flashing a program over 3G get counted against your data allowance?
  2. Is there a list and description of components for the asset tracking package?

thanks!


#14

I hope that I can find South Korea in the support list :slight_smile:


#15

@Carsten4207 The pinout hasn’t quite been finalized, so we haven’t published it yet. Once we finalize it, though, we’ll share it publicly on the community so that anyone interested into building shields or projects specifically for the Electron can get a head start.

@nirav

  1. Flashing over 3G does count against the data plan. You’ll definitely be able to reprogram over USB, and also we’re refactoring our firmware so when you push code it’ll only update the user code (a few KB) rather than the entire firmware blob (>100KB). You can also prototype with the Photon, they’ll be as code compatible as possible.

  2. The components on the asset tracker have not been finalized, but will include a GPS Module with a battery management circuit comparable to the one on the current Battery Shield. We’ll provide more details as we finalize them.


#16

How can we find out if our country is supported by the 3G module? But not the SIM yet?

Was the boomerang in the video a hint for us aussies? p.s. that’s not how you throw a boomerang!


#17

Check out the U-Blox page for the module (the SARA U-series), that should help. Basically the question you’ll want to look at is whether the bands used by the module cover your country. I am fairly certain that Australia is covered by the hardware, just not (yet) by the SIM.

@Hootie81 I was told I threw the boomerang wrong after we finished filming the shot. Maybe that’s why it never came back! :slight_smile:


#18

The band’s look good… hope you can get the SIM working over here!

I have been looking for SIM cards like what you plan for ages I have 3 tracking devices where I pay about $80 a year for each SIM that have never been used in anger and also one in my alarm system that gets used once a week tops when I accidentally set it off


#19

No shipping to Mexico? :frowning:

Really need Electrons


#20

Thank you guys for offering a 3G wireless solution with your sweet back-end and support base.

I had the 2G Adafruit Fona module but the setup and coding is less than ideal. 2G is going away in the USA so it’s hard to integrate a 2G module into a product when you know it’s going to be useless only a few years later.

Then you guys also solved the issue with having to setup a cellular data account that come along with monthly cost more than you want them to be. Your low cost no contract data plans are really a dream come true, perfect for what I’m wanting to do.

The wifi modules were cool but the limited wifi range was less than ideal for what I was wanting to do.

Really excited about the Electron. This is true wireless freedom! 3G coverage is just about everywhere these days.

@zach Keep up the innovation guys!