Hey there @SmartWorld. Good question, and thanks for asking.
The TL;DR is that pricing for Particle Mesh development kits (in the Feather form factor) will likely be increased slightly beyond the MSRP estimate provided in February due to higher than expected final bill of materials cost for the products.
However, we will also be releasing mass production variants for each of our new Mesh boards within 2018 that are intended for customers deploying products at scale with additional discounts when purchased in bulk.
Dev Kit prices
As you alluded to in your original post, there were some changes applied during the development process that resulted in some “upgrades” of the functionality of the Particle Mesh dev kits:
Decision to increase the available flash memory from 2MB to 4MB to relieve development constraints associated with adding additional features to Particle’s Device OS
Decision to upgrade the Argon coprocessor from single core to double core ESP32 in order to prevent additional delays to Particle Mesh hardware due to availability of the new chipset from Espressif
Additionally, our Particle Mesh hardware has features that are uncommon to development kits at this price point (including our previous generation of hardware) that are also designed to save cost for our customers:
JTAG header for programming and debugging, eliminating the need for a separate JTAG adapter accessory like what is required for the Photon and Electron
Li-Po connector and charge management system to add native support for battery powered applications, preventing the need for a Li-Po charging accessory like what is required for the Photon
While our goal is to make our development kits as affordable and accessible as possible, we do need to retain some margin to share with our distributors like Amazon, DigiKey, SparkFun, Adafruit, and Seeed who help us reach a much broader audience with convenient and affordable fulfillment options.
As a result, though we are exploring the possibility of building variants of these development kits that could be made available at a lower cost with fewer features, we will need to increase prices after preorder so that we can continue to sell them sustainably.
Post-preorder MSRP pricing for Particle Mesh dev kits will be updated on our preorder site next week to reflect the pricing below:
Xenon - $15 MSRP
Argon - $25 MSRP
Boron LTE - $49 MSRP
Boron 2G/3G - $69 MSRP (no change)
None of the other hardware accessories (like the Ethernet FeatherWing) are expected to change.
SoM prices (for mass production)
Since you are considering building a product with Particle mesh, it’s also important to note the following information which is included in our “Enterprise FAQs” section on the mesh preorder site:
Will Particle Mesh hardware be available in mass production form factors like the E-Series?
Yes! More details to come – Particle will release our plans for mass production form factors for Particle Mesh hardware before preorder delivery in October 2018.
Indeed, we have been hard at work on a SoM (system on module) design for the Argon, Boron, and Xenon that are cost-optimized and intended for deployment at scale. Pricing for these products will be discounted at higher volumes, and are likely the hardware SKUs you will want to implement if going to market with a commercial product.
More details about the SoMs will be provided at our very first developer conference, Spectra, on October 3rd! The keynote will be live-streamed, and tickets for in-person attendance can be purchased here:
Particle Spectra 2018 Tickets, Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite
I hope this information was helpful to you!