ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the Photon


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I’m curious - do you know how reliably the user code runs with the new RTOS approach? I’m hoping to order a Photon for a product prototype (to replace my Core), but want to make sure the main loop is practically guaranteed not to hang regardless of what’s going on with the network.

(I’m also curious about the typical loop speed with the new approach; I hear the Core isn’t able to exceed ~100 Hz due to the CC3000’s timing requirements, but any ideas on what we can expect from the Photon?)

Thanks! =)


Pulling in @mdma to answer that question


Hi @msegado!

It’s our goal to have the user loop run entirely independently from what the system is doing, even as far as allowing OTA updates to happen while also running user code.

On the Core, we’ve made changes to the way the background processing is done, so that the loop() now runs at over 1000 times faster - we measured 230 kHz. Look forward to in the 0.4.0 firmware release!


Awesome, thank you both for the replies! =) This sounds like good news for my current dev work, too… props on the 1000x speedup!


Hey all! Just wanted to share that we just sent out an email newsletter with some further delays on the Photon; we’re now shipping in May for orders placed before Jan 10 (the first 10K Photons) and June for orders placed thereafter. For more information on the delays (and also some awesome new stuff we just announced), check out the newsletter here:


Will we see the faster firmware updates for the Core as well? Or is this just for the Photon?


The faster updates come from 2 big changes:

  1. faster delivery of the firmware to the device via protocol optimizations
  2. delivering smaller binaries by separating system and user firmware and only updating user firmware

The core will support the first of these, while the photon will support both.

Woosh! :slight_smile: What was that? Oh just my firmware downloading! Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!


Will the photon automatically update the system firmware when a revision happens with #2?


Yes, it will be taken care of. You’ll also be able to choose which version of system firmware your app is built against. (Default will be latest.)


I keep checking back every so often to see if these photons have shipped, but alas there are more delays. Don’t get me wrong I want you guys to do what you need to make them right. I hate half baked hardware, been burned too many times on being too early of an early adopter.

That being said, these things seem so cool and I really really wanna play with one. Is there any chance of getting a discount on the spark cores for people still waiting on their photons (maybe $10 - $15)? Mainly because I am impatient but I have a specific project I am doing that I haven’t finished yet since I don’t have the brains :smile:


well the first bunch have already shipped, so its not like the hardware will change. 2nd bunch aren’t due for another month are they?


Actually, they haven’t (yet!). Late a look at [the post by Zach above] (


Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like the “prototyping” bundle, which has been available since the first announcement :wink:
You’ll get a Core ASAP, and the photon as soon as you’re due, for a discount within your suggested range.
You could try contacting the fine folks at Spark to have your order changed(?) Let me know if you need any help.


We are near to April’s end, do you have any news about delivery date or delays? Shipment are programmed to start of May or the end of May?


Hi Yaro - we’re on track for May delivery for the first 10,000 orders and June delivery for all other pre-orders. May shipments should go out mid- to late-May, and June shipments will go out in the beginning of June.


Hi @zach,

the photon_v019 will be the last version of schematic for photon before delivery on may ?


yes, that’s correct! Actually, @brett, can you tag the v0.19 design as v1.0 in Github so that’s clear?

unpinned #229


What about the firmware for the photon? Where can I find it? My photon should arrive this month and I want to get comfortable with the source code.