Hey guys! Long time listener, first time caller....
Like you, I'm also eagerly awaiting the P2 and I'm really happy that it's almost here. I'm definitely going to buy the first C3 or Hydra-style dev board available.
However, I think we can all agree that the world has changed since the P1 was announced, and some opportunities might have been missed. For example, the arduino craze started around the same time the P1 was released. But unlike the P1, arduino heavily utilized an open-source/industry-standard ecosystem. Arduinos are programmed in C, and the open-source nature of the boards inspired dozens of clones, kind of like the IBM PC. I don't think the P1 really compares with most ARMs, since those are generally meant for Linux/MMU applications and the P1 is MMU-less, so that's why I bring up arduino as the main alternative.
Anyway, with the P1, I get the feeling the Propeller vs. Arduino competition is kind-of mimicking the Apple vs Wintel competition of the 90's. Apple started out with more powerful hardware, and at the very least RISC architecture is generally recognized as superior to CISC. But because IBM clones were manufactured by hundreds of companies, and Macs were manufactured by a single company, the additional resources improved Wintel PCs until they leapfrogged Macs in performance, cost and popularity. Obviously this is a huge simplification, but I think my point on the difference in Mac & PC ecosystems remains.
Now, these are just ideas from someone who is not too familiar with P2 development, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But, the original P1 vastly outperformed the first arduinos, and yet it still is less popular. Soon, the P2 will be even more powerful than low-end ARMs, yet the atmel-based arduinos are still the most popular mcus today, because performance isn't the issue. So, here are some ideas I have (based off the success of arduino) to help ensure the P2 is commercially successful:
(And yes, I realize the Arduino is not fully open-source, but the open-source portion was a major factor in its popularity. So, I bring up the Propeller's open-source Verilog as a potential advantage.)
1: Replace spin with C/C++. Spin is nice, but the customer just reads that as "random proprietary programming language". If C/C++ (or Java) was advertised as the default language, then that would expand the userbase considerably. I know C is currently available for the P1, but that wasn't until a while after the original release and even today Spin is still considered the "main" language. For example, lots of people buy arduinos to learn C, but for that use case the P1 is not an obvious choice at all.
2: Use Github/other FLOSS hosting. I know the P2 is supposed to be community-developed... But where's the github? I just checked Parallax's github and didn't find anything for the P2. Making the P2 open-source is awesome, but right now the only people who will find it are forum users who know about the download link. It's in the one place where a competitor would definitely look, but a casual open-source dev won't.
3: Partner with other chip manufacturers. For example, if the P2 has a BSD-style license, then you can keep it open-source while getting royalties. I'm sure there are several international companies that would be interested in a multi-core MCU that doesn't require an advanced manufacturing process. I can think of several countries that are pushing for indigenous manufacturing and are perfect for this.
4: Capitalize on open-source. Partnering with Puri.sm to include the P2 as an embedded controller in their laptops/phone, or getting RYF certification from GNU are just two options off the top of my head. At the very least, some members of the unix community will prefer it for that reason alone, if you can advertise it to them.
5: Feel free to add other ideas... I'm sure there's more lessons to learn from the success of Arduino
Anyway, I hope nothing here came off as rude, and if you think I'm wrong about something just let me know. But my point is, if the P2 is handled the same way as the P1, then I don't think it will make a big difference in the market. The market isn't after performance, but familiarity and usability. And it's only a matter of time before we get 8-core ARM microcontrollers anyway, and at that point the P2 would have even lost its performance advantage.
I guess I'm saying, now that the P2 is almost here, I hope parallax is busy working on making an IBM PC-like ecosystem for it, instead of a Mac-like one. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong about something? Is Parallax working on this?