One of the biggest advantages of the Raspberry Pi as a development platform is the easy access you have to a lot of mature, well-designed SW stacks and libraries, making it relatively trivial to perform tasks that would be very complex or time-consuming to implement on deeply embedded mcu-based systems.
One of the areas where this is particularly true is with graphics and user interfaces. The HW requirements are fairly high to be able to work with large displays (larger than say 320×240 pixels), and even if you can meet the timing requirements — a 7″ 800×480 display probably requires ~40MHz for the pixel clock — there are very few open source or inexpensive graphics frameworks out there to render the kinds of modern UIs people expect today.
The Pi is really stands out here since it’s trivial to render complex UIs, taking advantage of modern features like Unicode text and complex scripts, and being able to use different fonts without having to worry about memory and rendering time (it can take a couple hundred KB of SRAM to render a TTF on an embedded system, and the libraries to interpret them are both large and complex), etc. You can also easily display the graphics on any inexpensive composite television or HDMI monitor, which is amazing for a $35 board … more than the cost of many LCDs!
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit, be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Have you tried the new “Adafruit Raspberry Pi Educational Linux Distro” ? It’s our tweaked distribution for teaching electronics using the Raspberry Pi. But wait, there’s more! Try our new Raspberry Pi WebIDE! The easiest way to learn programming on a Raspberry Pi.
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