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Do Arduinos, or any other single-board computer, come in any sort of industry-standard form factor? I'm trying to sell management on using Arduino, but they are stuck on the question "what if Arduino goes out of business", and if I could answer "we can just switch over to using brand X because it's the same size and has the same connectors", my life would be much easier.

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  • Arduinos are not single board computers. Jul 9 '15 at 20:07
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    @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams - untrue, an Arduino is very much an SBC Jul 9 '15 at 21:00
  • I'm going to agree with @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams -- the Arduino is just a microcontroller with a few extra peripherals attached around it to make it easier to develop with. Single board computer is generally a term for a board that has a Microprocessor (i.e. not microcontroller), some RAM, and optionally storage and maybe a GPU built in to the CPU. SBC would more like a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black.
    – Jake C
    Jul 9 '15 at 22:44
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    There are standards if you're willing to look beyond Arduino, such as PC/104, but for Arduino (hardware) you're pretty much stuck with whoever is making boards for them. You may want to consider standardizing your own I/O and Arduino libraries, and seeing how they work with the various Arduino-compatible MCUs. Jul 9 '15 at 23:27
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    @JakeC - no. An Arduino has all of the same types of resources as most other SBCs - granted it is less powerful, but not less powerful than some of the first systems to define that term. That a microcontrontroller puts peripherals such as volatile and non-volatile storage that might have once had to be a on the board on the chip itself doesn't mean that those functions aren't still present on the resulting board. Jul 10 '15 at 3:11
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  • Whether or not the Arduino company goes out of business isn't all that relevant. For one thing, there are now two competing companies vying for the Arduino trademark - arduino.cc and arduino.org.

  • The Arduino has such a ground-swell of popularity that clone boards are widely available on eBay and from other suppliers. While people are willing to buy them, someone will sell them.

  • The design is open-source, which makes it a safer choice than other designs who keep their design proprietary. For one thing, it guarantees that someone will make compatible boards, even if Arduino(s) fold.

  • The "heart" of the Arduino is (in most cases anyway) a chip from Atmel - so you really should ask if Atmel will go out of business. Probably not, but in any case, an alternative supplier might just as easily go out of business.

  • I wouldn't be building an "Arduino board" into a production system anyway - too much chance that wires would fall out of the prototyping sockets. However the prototyping board is good for learning about their capabilities, and testing your code.

Do Arduinos, or any other single-board computer, come in any sort of industry-standard form factor?

I'm not aware of any industry-standard form factor. The Uno design has caused a lot of people to make "shields" that fit onto that form factor, so that is probably the closest you would get to an industry standard.

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If you need a real computer, there are nowadays various options based on the Intel NUC concept. The Gigabyte variant, for example. It also has GPIOS accessible through a normal pinheader, in case you need them. And, being x86, there is virtualyl no risk of loosing the supplier.

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    Modern x86 processors are not always perfectly deterministic even if you write to the bare metal, which is a trait desired in many embedded systems. Jul 10 '15 at 3:44
  • And where does that requirement come from, exactly? For sure, not from the question asked. Btw, the x86 processor is deterministic. If you think you can write to the bare metal of an x86 machine you are fooling yourself, there is anyway a layer of microcode. The amount of other SW running on top of it it might not be accurate, but that's a separate story. And, anyway, it was not a requirement. Jul 10 '15 at 12:52
  • No one was claiming that it was a requirement for this specific asker, nonetheless it is still worth considering before choosing a solution. Jul 10 '15 at 13:19

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