First Look at the LinkIt 7697
Co-designed by Seeed Studio and MediaTek the LinkIt range of boards are aimed squarely at the Internet of Things market. While the flagship board in the range, the LinkIt One, has an Arduino-style footprint the other boards are more compact.
Though the new LinkIt 7697 may look somewhat similar to the LinkIt Smart 7688 released a couple of years ago, the similarities between the two are only surface deep. Unlike the 7688 — and its big brother the 7688 Duo — which are based around a MediaTek MT7688 MIPS processor running OpenWrt, the new 7697 is instead based around an ARM Cortex-M4 running FreeRTOS with 352KB of RAM and 4MB of Flash onboard.
As well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE support, the board has pin outs for digital GPIO, UART, I2C, I2S, SPI, PWM, EINT, ADC, and IrDA.
Software development for the board can be carried out using the GCC ARM Embedded command line toolchain on Linux — or the IAR Embedded Workbench on Windows—along with the LinkIt SDK for RTOS. However there is also a board support package for the Arduino IDE so you can develop directly from what is probably, at least to most makers, a much more familiar environment.
Around the same price point, and with similar capabilities, this board’s direct competitor will almost certainly be development boards based around the Espressif ESP32 chip. While only available in limited quantities right now by the time the LinkIt 7697 is shipping the ESP32 should be more readily available and, with an existing community, may well prove to be stiff competition for the new arrival.
The LinkIt 7697 is available to pre-order from Seeed Studio costing $13.90, and will ship towards the middle of June. Although be warned, if you’re thinking about picking one up, you probably want to think about ordering a few other things from Seeed at the same time. Even the cheapest, and slowest, level of shipping will double the price point if the board is the only thing in your basket.