The Arduino Tian is coming from the arduino.org (not from arduino.cc, just to avoid confusion) and Tian in Chinese means sky. This board is designed to become the brain in the next generation of smart devices. Target applications include IoT projects, wearable device, automation, and robotics.
Like the Arduino Yun, the Tian also runs the LininoOS based on OpenWRT distribution and has a built-in WiFi module. Besides the few similarities between Yun and Tian, there are more differences if we put side-by-side the two boards. The Tian uses the ARM Microcontroller SAMD21G18 (Zero’s microcontroller), while the Yun use the AVR Microcontroller ATmega 32u4. Also, the Tian comes with the Atheros AR9342 that runs at 560 MHz, while the Yun uses the Atheros AR9331 that runs at 400 MHz. In addition to Yun, the Tian includes the Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and it has 4GB eMMC memory.
Even if the both boards comes with 20 digital I/O pins, there are differences in how each board manages the pins. More than that, the Yun board doesn’t have analog output pins.
The main features of the Arduino Tian board include:
- ARM base: ARMCortex-M0
- Microcontroller: SAMD21G18, 48 pins LQFP
- Flash Memory: 256 KB
- SRAM: 32 KB
- Digital I/O Pins: 20, with 12 PWM and UART
- Analog Input Pins: 6, 12-bit ADC channels
- Analog Output Pins: 1, 10-bit DAC
- DC Current per I/0: 7mA
- Clock Speed: 48 MHz
- Linux Processor: 560MHz MIPS processor Atheros AR9342 74Kc MIPS
- RAM: 64MB DDR2
- Flash Memory: 16 MB
- eMMC Flash: 4 GB
- WiFi: IEEE802.11n 2×2 2.4/5 GHz dual?band
- Bluetooth 4.0: CSR8510
- Operating Voltage: 3.3V
- Input Voltage (micro USB): 5V/1A
The Tian board features an eMMC Flash memory that is not removable and can store only 4 GB. If you need more space to store data, you have to use the memory to copy the files to another computer. For many makers, this could be a problem that could have been avoided using an SD card reader.
The board comes with two standard antenna connectors. One connector for 2.4 GHz and another for 5GHz. These two connectors could easily extend the WiFi range from tens of meters to more than a kilometer.
LininoOS have roots in the OpenWRT distribution. The LininoOS comes integrated with the LininoIO framework to bring more flexibility for IoT applications. This means that anyone can write applications using Node.js, Python, Bash, etc. on the OS side to control the board and the devices attached to it. Besides the software pre-installed on LininoOS, you can install additional software on the Tian.
You can also use the board with Arduino Studio. This open-source development environment has support for Linux, Windows, and MacOSX.
As a conclusion, the Arduino Tian comes with fresh features for anyone involved especially in Internet of Things applications. The board is not released yet into the wild area of prototyping boards, and the price is also unknown.