Arduino obviously helps achieving lots of tasks with minimal knowledge, and hardware needs. Its all there – IDE, compiler, programmer and board. Tons of libraries and shields makes this thing hold strong positions among other platforms. Anyway there are lots of claims that AVR based Arduino many times reaches its limits when speaking of performance, memory and features. When Arduino DUE appeared things is gonna change – at least in some areas. Still same useless IDE and most of libraries but it’s gonna beat this with much higher performance and RAM.
Arduino DUE is based on Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller which brings few new features. It carries 54 digital I/O pins where 16 of hem are PWM outputs. 12 analog inputs with 12-bit resolution and DAC outputs that were missing on AVR based Arduino boards. Also there are 4 USARTs, two USB where one is USB 2.0 host. CAN interface, JTAG. Clock speed of 84MHz along with 96KB of SRAM brings a significant increase of performance. And hey – its 32-bit MCU. It is priced at $49 and is available now.