Adafruit Feather nRF52 Pro for Apache Mynewt

At Adafruit, we love open source projects and try to make our own contributions to the larger open source community as often as we can. As such, we’re really excited to offer the Adafruit Feather nRF52 Pro for Mynewt. Despite being a very crowded (and generally unexciting) field, we were really happy to come across Apache Mynewt, a 100% open source and commercial friendly embedded operating system aimed (unsurprisingly) at IoT. We know and trust the Apache Software Foundation, but above all we were extremely impressed with the overall quality and ease of use of Mynewt (and we’ve worked with enough dodgy RTOSes and platforms in house to know a good thing when we see it!).

Mynewt includes an entirely open source Apache licensed Bluetooth 5.0 stack, removing the need to run Nordic’s (good) but proprietary stack and black box SoftDevice. That in itself is liberating since you now have full control over every clock cycle and line of code in your system, but that’s not all. Mynewt is one of the best embedded operating systems we’ve ever used, and it’s clear when you start to use it that it’s written by people who are working in the real world, on real device deployments, with real remote field debugging nightmares behind them.

The command-line toolset is surprisingly easy to use, but more importantly the system itself integrates a number of often overlooked features like built in unit tests, full SW simulation of HW, the ability to cryptographically sign firmware images, over the air (OTA) firmware updates, internal statistics modules to track device state over time and perform non-intrusive debugging of complex multi-tasks systems, and generally excellent code everywhere you look.

While the board and OS is aimed more at commercial and professional development, if you want to set the bar high on your next product or project and start with a system that will see you through to full commercial deployment, it’s worth the time to give Apache Mynewt a serious look.

So what makes the ‘Pro’ variant different than the Arduino edition? The fundamental schematic is the same as the Arduino variant, but on the Pro version:

  • The SWD debug header is populated on this board to enable easier debugging with a Segger J-Link or similar debugger
  • The board ships with a serial version of the Mynewt bootloader pre-flashed (it won’t work with the Arduino IDE which requires a different bootloader!)
  • There is an additional ‘DFU’ TACT switch used to enable OTA firmware update mode, which can also be used as a user feedback option in your own apps

You can pick up an Adafruit Feather nRF52 Pro for Mynewt in the shop today, and have a look at our initial Learning Guide, which will help you get started with this excellent 100% open source development platform! Let us know in the forums if you do something interesting with it!

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