As another builder of gadgets that go in the ocean, I echo Gene’s feelings about low power sleep modes. I was disappointed that Raptor could not be put to sleep (with NETMF code) and have the RTC wake it up without arranging some external interrupt (I am not sure if this is NETMF or GHI’s issue) . While Raptor like devices consume more power, in a wake/sleep operation, they will likely be on less time. As everyone knows, it is not about how many amps they draw, but how many joules it takes to accomplish the task - that sets the size of the battery. When I was using PICs, I liked the ability to have different power states to conserve battery life, and while I know that it is possible to write low level code to do this with the NETMF processor families, that is not something that I want to attempt.
When low power modes are added, issues should be addressed about how to reinitialize peripherals like networking components if they have been powered down when a sleep mode has been entered.
I would suggest having a few “Standard Applications” like a data logger for example, that has a low power sleep mode, a sampling mode, a data storage module, and wired and wireless internet for retrieval of stored and live data. If this application was published as a “reference design”, in both C# and VB, then this would be a great starting point for many. When new versions of NETMF are hatched, the reference designs should be updated. I know that there are reference designs for many individual modules, but a more advanced application would be appreciated. Perhaps Microsoft should put resources into making this happen. I am sure that they could provide the test conditions to verify that networking is solid. There could be adapted versions for FEZ Raptor, Netduino, and some of the other players in the market. Microsoft could pick the Raptor, for example, and build the application. They could then share the code with the other manufacturers and ask them to contribute adapted code, plus the hardware to Microsoft, and Microsoft could then publish it as a Reference design version. These reference designs could also be the heart of educational modules, which the various manufacturers could adapt for their own products, by substituting in photos of their products, for example. This would go to the points previously made about educational outreach. This sounds something like that Microsoft talked about at build about the Netduino with Azure - it will be interesting to see where this goes.
I also echo @ Brett and @ ianiee74 about networking. DHCP needs to be solid, and it is still not there, even with 4.3. WiFi also needs to be inexpensive and easy. If products we make are going to be successful in the marketplace, this is essential, or the costs of support will be out of sight. Currently, the only wireless technology that I feel comfortable integrating into a product is @ Justin’s WirelessPipe which just seems to work, because you have control of both ends of the connection.
From out point of view, the present cost structure is not unreasonable, given the overall costs of the products we make.
@ Ransomhall - I agree about Azure - maybe the datalogger Reference Design should include Azure and I mean the Azure side of the development, with modest storage space made available at little of no cost. This would include a introduction to Azure for the developer who has no experience on web hosted applications.
Sorry to go on so much…