The Sharks Cove is now available for Pre-order! [Updated]


Back in April at the //Build conference, our group sent a couple of guys down to San Francisco to give a preview of some of the cool new stuff we’ve been working on over the past year.  At the end of the presentation, Viraf shared that the coolest of that stuff, the Sharks Cove, was targeted for release in Summer of 2014.  Given that it’s nearing the end of July, we’re still in the year 2014, and the title of this blog post provides a pretty strong hint (spoiler alert?), it appears to be pretty easy to guess what I’ll say next:

 

The Sharks Cove development board is now available for pre-order!

This marks a major milestone in our work, and we’re all pretty excited about it, to say the least.  This board is the product of a lot of collaborative effort amongst various groups from Microsoft and Intel.  This “Windows compatible hardware development board” is designed to facilitate development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run Windows, such as phones, tablets and similar System on a Chip (SoC) platforms. 

At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike.  That price not only covers the cost of the hardware, but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove.  When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.

We’ve also been busy posting content related to the Sharks Cove, settling into our new MSDN development-board Forum, and the launch of this blog.  Our goal is to ensure information is easily found and we have multiple ways to interact with
our community:

SharksCove.org is the site we have set up a site dedicated to the Sharks Cove board, where you’ll find specs and links to other content and our MSDN forums, as well as a link for the pre-order.

Pre-order the Sharks Cove direct link (via Mouser Electronics).

The Hardware Development Boards for Windows forum on MSDN is the new forum we have set up for discussion and support.

The Windows compatible hardware development boards MSDN page will consistently be updated with new information and act as a launch point to the various pages related to Windows driver development using these boards. 

As mentioned above, Peter Wieland and Viraf Gandi introduced and demoed the Sharks Cove at the //BUILD conference in San Francisco this past April – definitely worth the viewing!

Over the next few weeks and months, we’re planning to a number of articles related to the Sharks Cove and using it for driver development.  Among our planned posts, we will have series of posts from our summer college intern describing his introduction to driver development and using the Sharks Cove and the User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) to develop a sensor driver.  We’ll also give a behind-the-scenes peek at how all of this came together, as well as a variety of other posts that feature the Sharks Cove.

We’re very excited and proud of the work done to make the Sharks Cove a reality.  We are looking forward to seeing the amazing things that can be done with these boards!

 

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UPDATE: We’ve seen a lot of news along with robust comments since our blog post announcing Sharks Cove pre-order availability and it’s exciting to see all the interest!  However, we want to provide more clarity as we are seeing a lot of direct comparisons between Sharks Cove and Raspberry Pi. The primary focus for Sharks Cove is to support Windows IHV’s and ODM’s, who need a Windows compatible system that is appropriate for hardware and driver development.  Sharks Cove is a fully functional PC so you can install desktop and Windows Store apps to facilitate your development and testing and even your general enjoyment of the device. 

Our focus with this board doesn’t mean Microsoft isn’t also focused on bringing Windows to smaller devices.  For example, as part of presentations at the 2014 //Build conference and the O’Reilly 2014 Solid conference, Steve Teixeira demonstrated Windows running on an Intel Galileo board.  Earlier this month on July 11, the “Building Apps for Windows” blog introduced the Windows Developer Program for IOT .  This is the first of the several programs Microsoft will offer in the maker space. Many of the questions about Windows on Devices are covered in the FAQ found on the MS-IoT GitHub Open Source Home for the project.


Comments (32)

  1. Vaccano says:

    It would be nice to hear what this is actually for.  I get that it is a "board", but I does not tell me anything else.  

    What can I do with it?  Is it just for crunching numbers?  Etc?

    Maybe I am not the target audience? (I am just a normal Enterprise C# developer.)  If that is the case the disregard my comment.

  2. tifkap says:

    Only 8 years after the Raspberry pi, and at 10 times the price.

  3. dgfh says:

    @tifkap 2 years after the raspberry you mean. But yes the price is too steep.

  4. Paul says:

    What about MS Gadgeteer? Are they going to comply with each other?

  5. Mauricio says:

    This is 10 times the prince and 100 times better…. Raspberry is for newbies.

  6. I R Engineer says:

    Hard to develop without a SATA interface for a disk. I doubt that Win 8.1 plus Visual Studio could run native on it so will the development model be PC/ target? Even the Raspberry Pi can run Linux and a C compiler native. PCIe socket also missing. A sane project would have started with mini-ITX board and just added a few GPIO and chip bus pins. Then you would have had tons of resources and speed and the end system would be cheaper both for parts and especially for development time.

  7. Yves M says:

    Sharks Cove use Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry. You need MSDN subscription, without you will just have an evaluation version for 180 days !

  8. Ivan says:

    You absolutely can run Windows 8.1 on this board – it has same quad-core BayTrail SoC processor as Intel tablets. This is not a board to "compete" with Pi, but if you are working on embedded or mobile, then this is a really good board to develop drivers for Windows. Yes, you can build a PC for this price, but not with I2C, GPIO, SD and a number of other things.

  9. Ivan says:

    180 days is very nice indeed for driver development. Pretty easy to rebuild the image after that for another 180 days.

  10. Jack says:

    I want one. I like things like this. I disagree with Mauricio – "Raspberry is for newbies"; it isn't for newbies. Sure the RPi has a lot of resources and support pages but what do you expect? Linux offers more flexibility over Windows in a lot of respects – not to mention that a majority of IT expert's use Linux for servers and such.

    I think this board that Microsoft have produced has great potential and I wouldn't mind having one either – IT LOOKS SO COOL! However; will I be able to use it as a server like I do with my RPi's? I have a Samba server (Can use Windows shares for that), DLNA, Apache web server and a SSH server. If I can do all that sort of stuff on this new "MS Board" then I won't complain; the specs on this board are far superior to those of the RPi – when you consider CPU and RAM.

  11. Michael Fourre (MSFT) says:

    The focus of the Sharks Cove is on unblocking our hardware partners to build Windows parts for development of subsystems for tablets and mobile devices.  This certainly doesn’t preclude the hobbyist scenario, but please understand that this board is a fully-functioning system:  it’s more the guts of a laptop or tablet than it is the typical hobbyist device.  The comment above by Yves M is correct: this board in intended to use Windows 8.1 Industry Pro, which is efficient for IHV scenarios.  

    edit: earlier version said "ship with Windows 8.1 Industry Pro Evaluation", which is incorrect.  Per the setup instructions page, there are two suggested OS options that require downloading and imaging to the board.  The board will not be shipped with an image already in place.

  12. Rodrigo says:

    This is not an Arduino type of board, neither a hobbyist device. This is a HW development kit for folks wanting to build new mobile platforms on Windows.

  13. DrZ says:

    How about throwing in WP8.1 image as well.  Then I'll be jumping out to buy a few.  Also, being able to upgrade the RAM would be good as well

  14. Camilo Rodríguez says:

    Great!, thanks for it, I'm software developer and the develop for hardware is too complicate for find mini boards. I love Microsoft.

  15. TaffyDownUnder says:

    I own Rpi's, Arduinos, .net micro framework boards, and an FPGA development board. Currently I can not see me adding this one to my collection I can't figure out what the focus of the board is.  

    Is it a full fledged computer? Then where's the Ethernet connector?

    Is it a mico-controller type of thing? then why so big and expensive?

    Given that you're expected to add a keyboard, mouse and wifi dongle how come it is designed with so few USBs?

    I'm sure there will be people out there that will be excited by it and find uses for it but I don't think it will be in the same group of people doing things with Rpi's, BeagleBones, Arduinos and the like.

    I'll wait for version 3 (usual version where a MS product starts been useful for the general masses) before I pass my final judgement.

  16. Ivan says:

    It is a full fledged computer, just not a PC – it is a tablet. 🙂

    Tablets don't have Ethernet for obvious reasons and have few USB ports for same reasons of size and also power.

    But it is very capable – quad-core processor and Intel Gen graphics, so it is not a toy, it will run Full Windows on it easily.

  17. Rogério says:

    I big plus for this kind of windows board is the addition of serial port like LPT to easily build a CNC machine.

  18. Wally says:

    I have recently gotten interested in embedded systems.   What's the difference between this and an actual computer?  I don't understand the value that this board brings to the table.  I got excited back around build when Msdn made all kinds of embedded systems announcements.  Is this the result? How does this compare to IOT?

  19. Ivan says:

    This is a real computer. It has 4 cores, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash, interfaces to MPI camera and display, you can attach sensors – there are plenty of interfaces. This is more "mobile" computer like a tablet than "embedded" but you can use it either way. This is a great board if you need to develop a driver for so I2C device or SD device for a tablet and you want to start early – you can add a definition to ACPI, get it enumerated and start working on your driver, your applications, your tests and get it all done before your OEM/ODM gets their BIOS booting.

  20. Pete Brown (MSFT) says:

    In the past, developing drivers and custom hardware required a costly dev board, MSDN license (or Visual Studio Pro), a non-trial version of Windows, an NDA, and more. That really limited the audience who could build and debug devices and their drivers. Over the past couple years we've removed barriers to app development on our devices (free tools and emulators for Store apps, and free tools for desktop and web dev). This board and the program around it will similarly remove barriers and do for driver and device dev the same thing we've done for app dev. The Sharks Cove board is a full PC, with IO pins exposed so that you can write drivers that, for example, talk with devices over i2c. Think of it more as an opened up PC vs a consumer or general maker device. If you want something that is similar to Raspberry Pi or Arduino, this isn't that board. You'll instead want to look at something like the Intel Galileo featured at http://windowsondevices.com .  That said, we have made this board accessible to anyone who wants to purchase it and put it to use. By using Mouser for distribution, we haven't put up any artificial barriers.

  21. Melvyn says:

    "  this board accessible to anyone who wants to purchase it and put it to use. By using Mouser for distribution, we haven't put up any artificial barriers."

    Wrong…. Wrong..Wrong

    No one has done the USA Export documentation !!!!!!     So Mouser say they can not ship out side the USA     Are we in the UK now on the USA export black list?

  22. Mark Roddy says:

    What happened to the //Build 2014 discount? I have my coupon, but mouser has no way to request the discount price. I asked the same question over on the forum, but crickets.

  23. Pete Brown says:

    I'm at 37k feet at the moment, but I'll ask the team Monday for answers to both the discount coupon question (yes, you can use it, but the steps may not be clear) as well as the export problem. I've had other folks contact me on that second issue. Sorry for the inconvenience that is causing.

    And, just to be clear, despite press calling this a raspberry pi competitor, it really is for driver dev. The gpio, i2c, spi, etc. ports are accessible only through drivers you write.

  24. Pete Brown says:

    Hi all.

    Coupons:

    We're working on that with Mouser. You will be able to use your Build coupons in a couple weeks. Sorry for the delay there.

    International:

    The export restriction is unintentional. We're working with Mouser and Intel on that to get it taken care of. I'll post an update when we hear back.

  25. Bill Shader says:

    I also did not understand the export restriction,  but I did start a dialogue with 2 Mouser CSR people about it since I am in US.  Last news is that the board is not in stock, and on order from CircuitCo.  Delivery date un-confirmed.  Mouser has also indicated that there will be a discount program, but that's up to Microsoft.  I sat thru the //build webinar from April this weekend, and vaguely remember the $99 offer at the end of the seminar for those in attendance.  The first CSR indicated there were 211 in stock, one day later there is none.  

  26. Pete Brown says:

    You should now be able to order internationally. Sorry for the delay there.

    Pete

  27. Chandler says:

    This board will support windows 9 as well?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Wow.

    10x the price of the Raspberry Pi.

    10x worse software than the Raspberry Pi.

    Why, Microsoft, don't you create GOOD software? Linux is FAR superior to Windows h8.

  29. Kevster says:

    There has been no update the the sharkscove.org site since the announcment.  Where is the community forum ?   Have MS lost interest in this already ?

  30. kamal gaba says:

    Really! its fully helpful blog for everyone.

  31. Bobbygreg says:

    Great news if Sharks Cove is available for pre-order now. Many are waiting for this amazing board as it has lot of features of Microsoft and INTEL which helps all mobile devices that runs on Windows.

    downtownlosangelescomputerrepair.com

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