The BBC delays the micro:bit again

January 21, 2016 | 11:44

Tags: #bbc-micro #codebug #delay #education #micro-bit #microbit #microcontroller

Companies: #bbc

The BBC has once again delayed the launch of its micro:bit educational microcontroller, originally due to be rolled out across Year 7 classes throughout the UK in October.

The BBC unveiled the first Micro Bit design back in March, basing it heavily on the since-successfully-launched CodeBug. In July it revealed the final design of the tool, which includes an on-board processor cable of driving a 5x5 LED array and reading from a pair of buttons, built-in accelerometer and compass along with three crocodile-clip friendly GPIO inputs and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support. The plan was to launch the device, now known as the micro:bit, in October with the distribution of one million units free of charge to Year 7 pupils throughout the UK. In September, the BBC admitted it had hit a bump in the road thanks to a problem with the board's power supply, and would not be distributing the device until the new year.

It's now the new year, and the BBC has bad news yet again: the device has been further delayed, even as the broadcaster shows off a wall built from micro:bits at the BETT conference. While the giveaway is still on the roadmap, and may even extend beyond Year 7 pupils, the broadcaster is to being by giving the first production units to teachers after the half-term holidays to allow them to familiarise themselves with the device ahead of the full roll-out.

The CodeBug, meanwhile, continues to sell well in the micro:bit's absence, according to electronics specialist CPC. While it lacks the accelerometer, compass, and Bluetooth connectivity of the micro:bit, the device includes the same 5x5 LED array, two buttons, four clip-friendly GPIOs - one more than the micro:bit - and a battery holder on the rear for use in wearable projects. Its biggest advantage, though: it's actually available.
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