Back in April at the //Build conference, our group sent a couple of guys down to San Francisco to give a preview of some of the cool new stuff we’ve been working on over the past year.  At the end of the presentation, Viraf shared that the coolest of that stuff, the Sharks Cove, was targeted for release in Summer of 2014.  Given that it’s nearing the end of July, we’re still in the year 2014, and the title of this blog post provides a pretty strong hint (spoiler alert?), it appears to be pretty easy to guess what I’ll say next:

 

The Sharks Cove development board is now available for pre-order!

This marks a major milestone in our work, and we’re all pretty excited about it, to say the least.  This board is the product of a lot of collaborative effort amongst various groups from Microsoft and Intel.  This “Windows compatible hardware development board” is designed to facilitate development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run Windows, such as phones, tablets and similar System on a Chip (SoC) platforms. 

At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike.  That price not only covers the cost of the hardware, but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove.  When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.

We’ve also been busy posting content related to the Sharks Cove, settling into our new MSDN development-board Forum, and the launch of this blog.  Our goal is to ensure information is easily found and we have multiple ways to interact with
our community:

SharksCove.org is the site we have set up a site dedicated to the Sharks Cove board, where you’ll find specs and links to other content and our MSDN forums, as well as a link for the pre-order.

Pre-order the Sharks Cove direct link (via Mouser Electronics).

The Hardware Development Boards for Windows forum on MSDN is the new forum we have set up for discussion and support.

The Windows compatible hardware development boards MSDN page will consistently be updated with new information and act as a launch point to the various pages related to Windows driver development using these boards. 

As mentioned above, Peter Wieland and Viraf Gandi introduced and demoed the Sharks Cove at the //BUILD conference in San Francisco this past April – definitely worth the viewing!

Over the next few weeks and months, we’re planning to a number of articles related to the Sharks Cove and using it for driver development.  Among our planned posts, we will have series of posts from our summer college intern describing his introduction to driver development and using the Sharks Cove and the User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) to develop a sensor driver.  We’ll also give a behind-the-scenes peek at how all of this came together, as well as a variety of other posts that feature the Sharks Cove.

We’re very excited and proud of the work done to make the Sharks Cove a reality.  We are looking forward to seeing the amazing things that can be done with these boards!

 

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UPDATE: We’ve seen a lot of news along with robust comments since our blog post announcing Sharks Cove pre-order availability and it’s exciting to see all the interest!  However, we want to provide more clarity as we are seeing a lot of direct comparisons between Sharks Cove and Raspberry Pi. The primary focus for Sharks Cove is to support Windows IHV’s and ODM’s, who need a Windows compatible system that is appropriate for hardware and driver development.  Sharks Cove is a fully functional PC so you can install desktop and Windows Store apps to facilitate your development and testing and even your general enjoyment of the device. 

Our focus with this board doesn’t mean Microsoft isn’t also focused on bringing Windows to smaller devices.  For example, as part of presentations at the 2014 //Build conference and the O’Reilly 2014 Solid conference, Steve Teixeira demonstrated Windows running on an Intel Galileo board.  Earlier this month on July 11, the “Building Apps for Windows” blog introduced the Windows Developer Program for IOT .  This is the first of the several programs Microsoft will offer in the maker space. Many of the questions about Windows on Devices are covered in the FAQ found on the MS-IoT GitHub Open Source Home for the project.