Bianco wrote:XMOS plays in the high end microcontroller ball park, certainly their higher end SKUs are not optimized for cheap hobbyist/semi-professional use. And they shouldn't!. The G series are for either high volume or low volume high end products. In the first case the additional costs for PCB are negligible, in the second case, the production costs do not matter as much anyway. If those customers are happy, then it's good.
Increasing the pitch to 1.0mm would increase the package size to at least 25x25mm and it was already quite big. That said, G-series are not really recommended for new designs anyway.
To put it rude, hobbyists and semi-professional hobbyists are only good for one thing: they potentially may generate revenues in the future by convincing their work environment to use XMOS chips. They don't generate enough revenue by their own usage. To give an example: there are maybe 2 million arduinos + clones sold. Say that each AVR is sold for 2 euros, then the total revenue is about 4 million euros. This is nothing compared to the yearly revenue of 1400 million that Atmel has. And in the case of Atmel I even believe that it didn't even helped THAT much to get new design wins that they otherwise wouldn't have had. (Parallax is the only company that might prove me wrong :p).
This view may sound very economic but in the end everything is about money.
Although I agree with most of this Bianco given Xmos' high end professional focus why would they come out with such a low cost development board such as the $15 StartKit, not to mention giving away thousands of them! The Startkit also has onboard some interesting choices like a Raspbery Pi header one would not put this into the high end pro category, There is something more considered happening here than pro or hobby? I believe that what was once seen as a hobby market has expanded into something of much more value to chip vendors. Makers and open source are not just hobby but represent a new wave of product designers and producers and vendors are competing for the emerging talent that may go onto to design the next big products and getting their mind space and attention is strategic IMHO.