I second this; I really wish EI would order a bunch of the M2 card and sell them on the store for easy purchase. It is a big deal for smaller-scale developers to order raw STM microchips and BG96s with intricate BGA surface mount packages and manually solder them. The breakout board is great if you are a hobbyist needing 10 devices, and the Altium M2 source files are great if you are a huge company ordering 10,000 devices, but it is very awkward to use EI imp006 if you are in the middle like me where I’d like to have maybe up to 100 devices.
I am still planning to stick with ElectricImp long-term because of the excellent $3/month + $0.1/mb pricing, which gets me to abandon Particle when you look at Particle’s new insane scheme. However, one advantage Particle has over EI is ease of use with product integration. I can buy a small form factor Boron and easily integrate that module into my custom PCBs, which I have already done. Now for my EI-based installations, I have to buy a huge imp006 breakout board and manually solder wires between it and my custom PCB. I don’t have the volume or investment necessary to get my own native imp006-based PCBs with the STM chip and BG96 ordered and soldered. I use JLCPCB SMT assembly service + EasyEDA for my designs, which is within range for a novice to electrical engineering like myself.
I very much hope to see ElectricImp have a middle-of-the-road option like Particle does so well with its $50 Boron LTE board. The M2 design for imp006 comes so close to making this a reality, if it weren’t for the “get it manufactured yourself” limitation. I would be willing to pay EI probably a ridiculous percentage more than it would cost them to make these M2 boards in bulk.
For instance, if @hugo ordered 1000 of these imp006 M2 boards for, I don’t know, $50 each, I would happily pay $80 each for a simple, preassembled product. The only manual soldering I’d have to do is put an M.2 connector on my JLCPCB boards, which is probably within my abilities. This would virtually eliminate the only lasting advantage Particle has over EI for medium-scale hardware projects like mine.
Beyond that, I am much happier with Imp006/EI than I am with Boron/Particle. Even though the Particle OS is now finally (at long last) pretty stable, I still have much better performance and stability - particularly cellular uplink related - with ElectricImp.