I wandered over to the Ti booth here at the Embedded Systems conference to check out the Beaglebone and the MSP430 Launchpad. We haven't built any Beaglebones yet, but a few years back we took the Open source Beagleboard files and built up a couple to show our Package on package (POP) workmanship. The Beaglebone doesn't use POP, but it is open source. As are the "Capes." They call their expansion cards capes. I get a vision of Underdog when I hear that name.
The other product I looked at was the MSP430 Launchpad. I've been getting to know the launchpad myself and wanted to see what's new with it. The unit shown here has a DSP and a little display driven by the MSP430. It's a MP3 player with the purpose of introducing the DSP and MSP430 / DSP combination.
Ti is doing an amazing job of making evaluation of their chips easy and inexpensive. I've seen a few other companies providing more complete and less expensive than traditional dev boards as well. NXP with their LPC series to name one. It's a good idea and a good trend as far as I'm concerned.
Robots good. Neurotic thermonuclear devices bad.