Yesterday I attended a Meetup organised by "Internet of Things Innovators UK" we had two talks, one on the micro:bit from the BBC and the other on Ubuntu Core from hosts Canonical.
Howard Baker works for the BBC Learning team and he explained how a couple of reports on why the UK needs kids who can code triggered a series of events that led to the micro:bit. It sounded like his team had had a fantastic time experimenting with different projects that might inspire young minds, from Haptic Gloves to Raspberry Pi projects, they also reminisced about the days of the BBC Micro and how kids were coding back into the 1980s. He really liked how the BBC Micro threw you straight into a coding environment on boot up. They knew that a fully fledged computer was not the right solution but also were hearing from teachers that the Raspberry Pi were proving too difficult to get started with.
The additional sensors allow different ways of interacting and even networking with the device and blue tooth means that you could code directly from a tablet or phone without the need of a computer. I gave that a try and found it a little limiting from a phone but it should work well on a larger screen device.
In the Q&A Howard was quizzed about general release dates (Spring 2016), relationship with CodeBug (a spin off via Manchester University based on earlier prototypes) and I asked about the edge connector (Howard told me this was a standard size) I later found the details of that via the BBC site and another partner Kitronik.
Thibaut Rouffineau gave a rapid talk about Ubuntu core and I think he convinced us that C3PO was more evil than Hal9000 as he never gets his firmware updated. I'll be writing separately about Ubunto Core once I've had a chance to play with it. Unfortunately it does not work on my old RPi1.