In 2019 the element14 community roadtestested 48 products (42 completed products, 4 currently being reviewed, and 2 in enrollment as of today). That's a lot of products! While the reviews our roadtesters write are usually the focus of element14's end of year wrap-up reports, I wanted to take a look at what were the favorite products that were roadtested in 2019. So, in early in December 2019, I created a poll with what I considered to be the 20 most popular products I felt we roadtest from my view as the RoadTest Program Manager. I looked at conversations, page views, comments, and "likes" to develop this list. I then created a poll ( https://www.element14.com/community/polls/3016#comment-247825 ) and let the element14 community vote on their favorite product.
What is the definition of a "favorite" product?
Great question. In the previous paragraph, I mentioned a few metrics I watch as the roadtest program manager. But I don't think data alone defines the term favorite. I think there is that certain excitement a new product provides the marketplace that pumps it up to favorite product status. You may have your own definition. But for this end-of-year report, I think the choices we all make are personal and fun to look at as 2019 passes into the sunset and 2020 come up in close view. If you have any thoughts about what a "favorite" product means to you, please feel free to make a comment below.
First Place: The 3 Series MDO Mixed Domain Oscilloscope (Tektronix)
I was not be surprised that this product garnered first place status. It's a fantastic, state of the art, piece of test equipment that received a whopping 113 applicants. I would like to thank Tektronix for providing the products. The reviews are still coming in, but it has many WOW-like features to make it popular. A high-definition display in a compact package. (When I took it out of its packaging I was taken by how small and light it was.) A built-in spectrum analyzer option for RF analysis. Up to 5 GS/s sample rate on each analog channel. Bandwidth up to 1 GHz. A wide range of available serial bus decode and trigger options. Optional 16 digital logic channels, integrated 1 GHz or 3 GHz spectrum analyzer or 50 MHz arbitrary / function generator. Takes me breath away!
Second Place (Tie): Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and BeagleBone AI
2019 was unique in that we saw the roll out of new versions of both the Raspberry Pi and the Beaglebone single board computers. Both products have a deep following on the element14 community. And these new versions do not disappoint. The Pi4B received an earth-shattering 510 roadtest applicants (a major WOW factor)! The Raspberry Pi 4 is a step up from earlier models giving it the true desktop experience, plus it's more energy-efficient and more cost-effective. It comes with a faster Gigabit Ethernet, along with onboard wireless networking and Bluetooth. Its two USB 3 ports make it a real standout from previous models. And it can run monitors in 4K.
I heard a lot of anxious members waiting for the launch of the BeagleBone AI. So, I was not surprised that it received a remarkable 143 roadtest applicants. BeagleBone AI is a high-end Single Board Computer aimed at developers interested in implementing machine-learning and computer vision with simplicity. BeagleBone® AI includes a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 running at 1.5 GHz, 16GB on-board eMMC flash, a SuperSpeed USB Type-C interface, Gigabit Ethernet and dual band wireless connectivity. It simplifies artificial intelligence (AI) in daily industrial, commercial and home applications. |
I must say this was a surprise for me as RoadTest Program Manager. We roadtest plenty of other products that came from suppliers who probably have a larger following on element14 than TUL Corporation, who manufactures the board. But I think the element14 community's accelerating interest in Xilinx programmable SoCs, along with the PYNQ framework (also from Xilinx) opened the world of programmable SoCs and FPGAs to developers who may not have traditionally been hardware or FPGA engineers, like software developers, yet were knowledgeable of Python. The TUL PYNQ™-Z2 board, based on Xilinx Zynq SoC and originally designed for the Xilinx University Program. PYNQ is an open-source project from Xilinx® that makes it easy to design embedded systems with Xilinx Zynq® Systems on Chips (SoCs). Using the Python language and libraries, designers can exploit the benefits of programmable logic and microprocessors in Zynq to build more capable and exciting embedded systems.