The future of Gadgeteer

When MSR (Microsoft Research) started the Dragonfly concept which later became known as Gadgeteer, we immediately fell in love with it. Everything from the cables to the software wrappers allowed all of us to easily create projects and products. However, it never seemed to move past a research project for Microsoft. And in recent years it seems to be only GHI Electronics providing products and support on the level needed to keep Gadgeteer going. From a business perspective, we unfortunately cannot continue pouring resources into Gadgeteer. It is today with great sadness that we inform you that we will no longer provide Gadgeteer-based solutions.

To make this an easier transition for our customers, we will continue manufacturing Gadgeteer until the end of 2016. We will also keep accepting direct orders throughout 2017. There may be minimum order quantities for 2017 but we will try to keep those as low as possible. Please contact us directly with your Gadgeteer forecast ASAP so we can work with you on a smooth transition.

As far as software support, the current released stable 2016 SDK has everything needed to continue creating Gadgeteer products. Starting in 2017 the GHI Electronics SDK will no longer contain Gadgeteer. So, for those of you invested in Gadgeteer, there is no need to worry about availability. The 2016 R1 release will always be available via our website. Not only will we keep that SDK available for you but we have created a support page that will direct you to the open Gadgeteer source files and provides a very basic overview of what to do.

What’s next? By removing Gadgeteer from our product road map, we will be able to really bring the concept of “FEZ” (Fast and Easy) back into using our products and who we are. We will be able to focus on the rest of catalog including NETMF. Yes, you read that correctly; stepping away from Gadgeteer [em]does not apply[/em] to NETMF. We will continue with our NETMF product line and products that have yet to be announced.

Using Gadgeteer after the 2016 R1 SDK:
.NET Gadgeteer Products:

I would like to reiterate that this is not effecting any of the NETMF products. Gadgeteer and NETMF are completely different products, and even listed separately on our catalog.

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@ Gary @ Gus This must have been a pretty tough call.

I dont use the gadgeteer software, but do appreciate the hardware modularity.

Will ALL gadgeteer mainboards and modules be discontinued? They can be great for prototyping, even if you use a SOM for further units. I would certainly miss the ability to get a display up and running really fast without having to build out a PCB.


yeah displays for me is the greatest gap I see from this


Display won’t be so bad if they go back to Cobra I type boards.

:’( this makes me sad. :’(

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actually, FPC connectors in locations that may or may not sit well with final display mounting relative to mainboard, doesn’t seem easier to me. In fact, looking at my Cobra 1 with 4.3 case, I do much prefer the T43 connected to the Raptor sitting next to it. I can’t solder that FPC. I can solder the .05 headers no worries. If I’m making a “custom” board, at least the standard that the RGB sockets gave made it easily transportable to another manufacturer’s mainboard if you wanted.

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Offering displays is definitely a good option. Today’s NHVN board works directly with FEZ cobra already.

@ Gary @ Gus thank you for all your efforts with Gadgeteer, as it is truly a tragic day that such a great tool rides into history and far too soon, but I certainly understand your position as without Microsoft’s active involvement it really is impossible to continue. I must admit I’m disappointed that Microsoft was unable to grasp the beauty and concept of Gadgeteer and really don’t have anything to replace it with as nothing made moving into the world of devices and IoT easier for software folks then Gadgeteer.

I had personally invested a lot of time and money into Gadgeteer, but I got so much back from everything I learned and every device I made, so a huge thanks to everyone who helped make Gadgeteer possible and to everyone who makes this user community so special.

I know that everyone who attended one of my hands on Gadgeteer classes left having hands on experience with the best learning tool available and were able to learn the material and concepts faster and better then would have been possible with any other tool, so my sympathies to everyone who never got a chance to experience Gadgeteer as it was truly magical.


Noooooo!!! This is very sad news.

Gadgeteer has opened up a total new world to me. I am a programmer by trade, without any electronics background, but this style of tinkering has brought me lots of joy and happiness over the past few years. Heck, using a Spider I, a USB-SeriaI and the Extender, I even got a far a creating and ISP for programming an Atmel ATTiny45 that mimicked the STK500 protocol and can be used directly from Atmel Studio. This would not have been possible without Gadgeteer for me personally. But I do not do this for a living, so I do not buy any Gadgeteer related things in volumes.

I do understand that, from a business point of view, if you cannot make money out of it, then there is no use continuing.

Can I just ask a stupid question? If not Gageteer, how else will we connect sensors, etc.? Arduino shield style?

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Very sad news indeed!!

Sad and bad news …
Gadgeteer repose in peace !
:frowning: :’( :frowning: :’(

Stella! Gadgeteer coulda been a contender!

RIP Gadgeteer. My first self designed PCBs were for these modules. As others have mentioned, it’s a solid jumping off point for software types who want to dabble in electronics. Gadgeteer has formed the foundation of my exploration of DIY IoT phenomena.

Empathy aside, I’ll be psyched for the fire sale. I would like to add to my pile of GHI hardware used for STEM education. Schools LOVE the non-soldering option. Heck, I still get a lot of use out of the long gone eBlocks 8)


However it is hard to believe that there were no Gadgeteer Mainboards and Gadgeteer modules at all that gave a reasonable profit for you as the manufacturer. Is this great board Spider II really selling so bad? Why not continue to produce e.g the Spider II and a corresponding power module and a handful of those module which are profitable for you without further support of the Gadgeteer function from the software side (Visual Studio designer). Adding the module driver as a Class in the application is quite easy. Adding own sensors via the Breakout- or Extender-Module is quite easy as well.

Transition to where? I think you should keep in mind: Not all of your customers are here because of you smart guys and will switch to whatever product you are deciding to produce. As I think many of them came here because of Gageteer, were happy to find a great crew and were happy to see your other great products.


There is a renewed discussion happening inside Microsoft right now about releasing the remainder of the Gadgeteer source code. The right people are engaged, but I can’t say right now what the outcome will be, and the decision is not mine - I’m just trying to push the discussion forward to a conclusion of some sort.


Keyword here is gave - past tense. A more appropriate tense change would be giving. This is complete conjecture, but I’m fairly convinced once the shine wore off, many customers moved on (aside from this core crew). There was never adequate brand recognition. While not a failure, gadgeteer was never successful enough to break out of a niche market. There are lots of other factors besides profit that accelerate EOL. The most obvious being the (often frustrating) fast pace of technology evolution. This can be a hard pill to swallow if you’ve bought into the platform as much as the “regulars” on this forum.

@ mcalsyn - thank you for any effort to get this opened sourced.

@ mcalsyn - Not that it matters much I guess but anyhow, you’ve got my vote if you need any. Maybe we all need to shout a little louder …

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Give it a couple days - I think the right discussion is happening, but if making the community voice heard a bit better will help, I will let you all know, because I want this to happen too.

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Microsoft again !

Wish they would stop the tugging and poking … doesn’t help the Customer, Hobbyist or partners like GHI.

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