SparkCore compared to imp?

Just stumbled upon this: which is also a kickstarter project (

Anyone compared this to the imp? Could this be a replacement?
What do you think?

This looks interesting. I wonder if there will be a local network capability for communicating btw the cores on local wi-fi only. I still prefer the Imp package, easier for commercial integration.

Looks like a cloud is still required. It also looks like it might cost more than the imp. Only time will tell.

Can anyone see additional disadvantages of Sparkdevices to add to my list?

  1. Not ready for 6 more months
  2. Wiring is not as powerful as Squirrel event driven
  3. Worse sleep
  4. Less Wifi range
  5. too simple Web API
  6. No agent

How do they do Smart Config over Wifi?
Open Adhoc without a password?
Sounds cool, but I don’t see the advantage…

Spark devices isn’t reliant on their service, they say (you can download your own server code), but some other things:

  • No standard TLS encryption. They are doing their own AES-based encryption for the link from the spark core to the server. We picked TLS because it’s very robust an secure - there are lots of ways you can implement encryption in a way that makes it useless for security.

  • Very very little RAM. They have 20kB on their processor in total. The TCP stack runs in the wifi chip, but that 20kB has to do encryption and so on. On an imp you have 60kB+ when securely connected to the service.

  • Higher sleep power, and reliance on user code to be power optimized.

  • Their antenna looks suboptimal

  • No 802.11n support

  • No agents

  • Not sure how you will recover crashed code remotely, as it runs native code.

  • Not really an arduino, as it uses an STM32 vs a SAM3. Personally I prefer the STM32, but you’re going to find Due code that won’t work on this platform due to the differences.

Smart config works by sending wifi broadcasts and encoding data in the packet lengths. Kinda cute but doesn’t work in all circumstances. We’re looking at Broadcom’s alternative :slight_smile:

…all that said, if you want a cortex M3 and wifi on a small, fairly cheap, board then it looks like a good option!

These are important differences you listed!
The most important of all: It works today.

Many thanks for sharing your insight. For a hobbyist like me, the Imp seems to become more a closed users/commercial community and therefore Spark Core may be there to fill in.

I did not really understand the comparison between SmartConfig and Broadcomms alternative. What I’ve found so far is, that Broadcomm (too?) is proprietary and recently was shown to be easily breakable using brute-force-attacks (

Time will tell

It also looks like it might cost more than the imp, yes 39 dollars instead of 29…all that so they could add a local Arduino chip on the back. Yet there is a niche for everything

@pageagent the broadcom thing isn’t secure easy setup (that’s a very old thing, which is now replaced with WPS - which we already support), it’s something new.

The imp is an open platform, but a closed OS/server ecosystem - and yes, we are already having commercial success as well as hobbyist success, but both areas are important to us. We strongly believe that hobbyists/makers (such as ourselves) are the ones who are going to come up with the next killer applications for IoT.

There are many very successful closed source products in the hobbyist/maker area, eg the Microsoft Kinect, which just has open source drivers… all the IP and code within the box is closed, but it works well enough that people don’t actually mind. We rather hope that we work well enough that people decide that we’re worth using vs re-inventing the wheel too :slight_smile: