LTE: Boron vs. Electron vs. E-Series?

electron
boron
cellular
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#1

With 3 LTE capable boards now to choose from, what are the main differences and advantages/disadvantages of each of the Boron LTE, Electron LTE, and E-Series LTE boards for use as an LTE board only (not caring about using mesh or BT)?
The aspects I care about are current and future bulk cost (trays of 50), performance (for both the cellular modem and microcontroller), and overall functionality.

Some of the differences are obvious (Boron has Bluetooth/mesh capability and fewer pins, E-Series is surface mountable/industrialized, Boron/Electron have buttons and battery connectors built-in, etc.), but other differences are less clear to me and I was hoping to get some insight or nuances to consider from the masters themselves: @rickkas7 or @KyleG, could you shed some light here?

A big part of this question revolves around bulk costs of each of these 3 units both now and in the future. For example, about a year ago and a half ago, I started designing my systems around the E-Series LTE boards (even though the Electron would have worked fine for what I was doing) because the price each of $42 (tray of 50 price) was quite lower than the price each of $62 (tray of 50) for the Electrons. However, the E-Series LTE price later and gradually increased to their current price of $58 which is a pretty minimal benefit for all the hassle that was put into completely redesigning my systems from the E-Series to the Electron. I understand that pricing has to be adjusted occasionally to make things profitable and sustainable on your end, not to mention the goal of maximizing profit based on supply and demand. We all do it. However, a little more transparency regarding potential and future price increases of new products as we are developing products around them would go a long way.

For example, the Boron LTE is currently priced lower than the other two but seemingly has the same functionality (minus fewer pins) and includes header pins, LiPo connector, and buttons (which I want). Is there any reason, besides the loss of surface mountability, that should prevent me from switching from the E-Series to the Boron? Will the price of the Boron LTE be increasing by $16 down the road as was the case for the E-Series once the board become more popular and established? Again, I completely understand you need to do what is best for your business and we all want you to be successful so we can continue using your platform to do great things, but I just want to be intelligent and thoughtful about what I build my products around. Thanks!


#2

Dont forget the B-Series (Boron) in your decision matrix :wink:


#3

@zach Do you have anyone that can shed some insight here?


#4

Hey BryanS – I can help here.

Here’s how you can think about Particle’s hardware portfolio –

  • The Electron and E Series are single-radio cellular connectivity modules. They come in 2G, 3G, and LTE M1 variants.

  • The Boron and B Series are multi-radio cellular connectivity modules. They also come in 3G and LTE M1 variants, but each module includes BLE and Particle Mesh support.

There are some other differences between the Electron line and Boron line – clock speed, number and type of peripherals, etc.

In general, we recommend starting new designs with the Boron line, which is our newer product line that includes BLE and Mesh. Because of the declining cost of computing, we are able to offer the Boron, with more features, at a comparable price to the Electron.

That being said, we are going to keep both product lines in mass production for the foreseeable future, and plan to manufacture both product lines (Electron and Boron) in each of our available form factors (dev kits, castellated SoMs, M.2 SoMs).

As far as specific bulk pricing goes, I would recommend reconnecting with a member of our sales team to discuss present and future bulk pricing beyond what is already quoted in our wholesale store at http://wholesale.particle.io. In the same conversation, we would be happy to provide you with further information about our product roadmap under NDA.