Microsoft announces its new development board: the Sharks Cove

Mini PCs have become pretty popular, mainly for development purposes and the Raspberry Pi turned out to be a hit with its $35 price tag, while its latest version launching this month. It looks like Microsoft wants to get in on this market, hence the company announced Sharks Cove, a mini PC that aims to rival hardware like the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone. Having a much steeper price tag, the device will come with Windows 8.1 and also features more power under the hood.

To begin with, the Sharks Cove's specifications are impressive for its 4x6-in size: a Bay Trail 1.3 (up to 1.88) GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage powers this mini beast. Apart from the internal specs, a 3.5 mm stereo jack and one HDMI port along with a USB 2.0 port are the devices' main connectivity ports.

Microsoft expects Sharks Cove to be mainly used for Windows development, though Android development is also supported. As a result, tons of pins are placed onboard for development needs. There is no WiFi or Ethernet onboard therefore the device relies on external solutions for networking. 

An image of Windows 8.1 will be bundled with the device and as Microsoft claims, “utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove" will also be included. This results in Sharks Cove being a lot more expensive compared to the $35 Raspberry Pi -- a whopping $300.

According to Microsoft, unlike the Raspberry Pi, the Sharks Cove's main focus is Windows hardware and driver development which might tempt a certain group of developers. The company even goes further, describing the Sharks Cove as a "fully functional PC". 

Despite the Sharks Cove's superiority in many ways, it will be a tough challenge for Microsoft to compete with the Raspberry Pi, especially with these price tags.

For those of you interested Sharks Cove is now available for pre-order

Source & Images: Extremetech

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I don't think this even is to compete with the raspberry boards which by all measures are an ultra-niche market and its specs aren't really going to allow for anything beyond very basic computing. This is for more advanced tasks and scenarios that a raspberry pi couldn't possibly handle to its budget specs.

neonspark said,
I don't think this even is to compete with the raspberry boards which by all measures are an ultra-niche market and its specs aren't really going to allow for anything beyond very basic computing. This is for more advanced tasks and scenarios that a raspberry pi couldn't possibly handle to its budget specs.
An ultra-niche market lol? The Raspberry Pi has already sold more units than the Shark's Cove ever will. http://www.raspberrypi.org/ras...gham-palace-3-million-sold/

And no, the Raspberry Pi can handle way more than "basic tasks" lol. It runs Minecraft servers for crying out loud.

This is manufactured by the same guys that make the Beagleboard and they have other x86 boards targeting hobbyists (more wallet friendly)

Edited by georgevella, Jul 31 2014, 1:29pm :

Sraf said,
Those headers make me think of the GOBus headers on the NetDuino Go, it would be neat if they were
They have too little of the header bus.. they need to add a few more...

It'll have to compete with netbooks for $275 that also use baytrail, have touchscreens and run w8. This is a real opportunity, but if they price it wrong, it's over before it starts. I hope they get it right.

This wasn't meant to compete with anything, it's for developers to create new devices and drivers. $300 is a steal for developers compared other kits that starts at $400.

Guys, seriously if you think $300 is expensive for a development / prototyping board, you do not work in embedded development..... this thing is cheap... real dev boards / reference boards can cost $400+ they are not meant to be some hobbyist toy, they are meant for serious hardware testing and development... it's almost like someone saying I can get an app for my phone and a interface to make an oscilloscope for $100 when quality ones cost thousands... well those people that pay thousands on oscilloscopes are the ones this board is meant for

RommelS said,
I bet you, some here doesn't even know a CRO (oscilloscopes). They have to bing it to find out. :)

I bet the majority of the people here don't even know that's how Hewlett-Packard got their start. making things like Oscilloscopes and other electronic test equipment

This does not look like they want to compete with the Rasberry Pi. This is for something else. "Microsoft expects Sharks Cove to be mainly used for Windows development".

Stef van Hooijdonk said,
This does not look like they want to compete with the Rasberry Pi. This is for something else. "Microsoft expects Sharks Cove to be mainly used for Windows development".

It also looks like an awesome bored for a home automation DIY enthusiast who doesn't want to have to deal with a Linux environment.

What a mess, could they possibly cram any more components on there? $300 price tag? LOL.
If this thing is the best they can do to compete with the Raspberry Pi they need to try harder.

Bonfire said,
What a mess, could they possibly cram any more components on there? $300 price tag? LOL.
If this thing is the best they can do to compete with the Raspberry Pi they need to try harder.

This is sort of like comparing a Lamborghini (Shark's Cove) to a Kia (RPi).

Is anyone here familiar with the Rasberry PI? Is the hardware comparable to one another? There's a big price difference just for a tweaked Windows 8.1. Looks interesting however.

Have you really never heard of it? It's an amazing PC for Linux users. It has an ARM processor though, so it's not really designed to perform for anything you throw at it.

BajiRav said,
RPi will be underpowered given that this one uses an intel processor.
Will be underpowered compared to the Shark's Cove. That doesn't make it slow though, and given that Linux lets you switch runlevels and run with no window manager, it's probably faster when using the command line than this will be. Going even farther than that, while the Raspberry Pi has just 512 MB of RAM, it uses only about 35 MB when there is no window manager running. On the other hand with Windows lol...

So while the Shark's Cove is definitely better on paper, remember that's not the only thing you should be looking at; the OS makes a huge difference as well.

OS footprint has no bearing on the fact that the hardware is underpowered. You can run a headless Linux server on Sharks Cove with minimal footprint and it will easily smoke the Pi.
JHBrown asked how the hardwares compare and I answered. Didn't realize this was a Linux vs Windows thing.

Showan said,
$300!?!?!?........Raspberry Pi lost no sleep on this day...

It is NOT a raspberry pi competitor.

Tech journalists nowadays say a lot of ######.

This device is aimed at device driver developers. It is supposed to help hardware engineers test/debug new devices that can be used with other windows PCs (think of sensors, secondary display panels, ...), thanks to its wide range of internal ports.

It's an alternative to traditionally more expensive development boards.

It is not designed to be used in consumer devices.

link8506 said,

It is NOT a raspberry pi competitor.

Tech journalists nowadays say a lot of ######.

This device is aimed at device driver developers. It is supposed to help hardware engineers create new devices that can be used with other windows PCs (think of sensors, secondary display panels, ...)

It's an alternative to traditionally more expensive development boards.

It is not designed to be used in consumer devices.

It may not be a direct competitor to Pi... But it's still over priced. No matter how you slice the Pi.......yes bad pun intended :p

Showan said,

It may not be a direct competitor to Pi... But it's still over priced. No matter how you slice the Pi.......yes bad pun intended :p

It's not overpriced for what it is. The Pi is designed to be educational, not for producing new hardware.

Showan said,

It may not be a direct competitor to Pi... But it's still over priced. No matter how you slice the Pi.......yes bad pun intended :p


It would be overpriced if Raspberry Pi came with a full license of Windows 8.1 and ran an x86 processor.

Showan said,

It may not be a direct competitor to Pi... But it's still over priced. No matter how you slice the Pi.......yes bad pun intended :p

You don't know what you're saying, but I'm not surprised.

Did you miss all those headers, dip switch, port 80 and MIPI ports?

You REALLY think this is competing with Pi?

To think that your comment even has likes. I was expecting more from neowin readers.

eddman said,

You don't know what you're saying, but I'm not surprised.

Did you miss all those headers, dip switch, port 80 and MIPI ports?

You REALLY think this is competing with Pi?

To think that your comment even has likes. I was expecting more from neowin readers.

Say what you will...

Cheap is what people want when it comes to things like this.
And I also know a bulk of the price is from the Windows License.

Showan said,

Say what you will...

Cheap is what people want when it comes to things like this.
And I also know a bulk of the price is from the Windows License.

Not the bulk of the price, but definitely at least half.

BajiRav said,

It would be overpriced if Raspberry Pi came with a full license of Windows 8.1 and ran an x86 processor.

This thing ships without a screen so the OS license should be $0.

Showan said,

Say what you will...

Cheap is what people want when it comes to things like this.
And I also know a bulk of the price is from the Windows License.

Again, you don't seem to understand the difference between "things like this". Did you even read my comment?

The things that I listed, headers, etc. show me where they are on Pi.

Sharks cove can be used for certain development projects, thanks to all those ports and hardware features, that Pi can never be.

You're comparing a small van to a truck.