For me it would be to allow my portable product to send status data to the web via Wifi, Cellular, or Bluetooth, whichever method is most efficient for the particular situation my product is being used in.
Bluetooth would also allow local data transmission to a Phone or Tablet without using Wifi or Cellular.
Or the Bluetooth can allow my product to communicate with external accessories wirelessly at a low power level. The ESP32 has Bluetooth built in so it’s not really like they have to add another Bluetooth module to the board, it’s a bonus.
$9.99 for the dev board is fair. I do hope they sell the certified-module (like P1) for half of that. It does make sense for Particle to move away from making profit off of the hardware and focus on cloud subscriptions for product makers.
If Particle has decided to sell these new boards at cost and focus on expanding income with their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) then designing the boards to be Featherwing compatible is a pretty good idea considering that gives end users tons of add-on accessories that Adafruit has already designed and are in stock now.
Less work for Particle and more options for the end user. Win-Win for everybody.
hmm, that’s not a scalable solution for a product. I wish particle would provide an ethernet solution backed by their cloud. It drastically would reduce development + support costs for product makers. But I realize that Ethernet is not an option for many product makers.