This Is Microsoft's New Raspberry Pi-Style Tiny Windows PC

The Raspberry Pi has proved a massive success with developers and students alike—and now Microsoft has decided to get in on the act with an Atom-powered Windows board. But it fails to compete on one of the most important features: price.

Microsoft has teamed up with Intel and hardware maker CircuitCo to offer up the new piece of hardware called Sharks Cove. A development board for both Windows and Android, it totes an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core chip with speeds of 1.33GHz to 1.83GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash storage, and a MicroSD slot. Great!

It also costs $300. Less great. But Microsoft is at pains to justify the pricing of the device:

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.

True that this board may well find a different audience: it'll likely be snapped up by people wanting Intel Atom based tablets and mobile devices, and even then those with a special interest in Windows. But for hobbyists, all the justification in the world can't overcome the fact that you can buy a perfectly good ARM-based Raspberry Pi for just $35. [Microsoft via Ars Technica]