I had always viewed Arduinos and Raspberry Pi as these cool, little, specialized devices that can be used to make all kinds of fun gadgets. I came from the software side of the world and have always considered Linux on x86 and x86-64 “general purpose.” The truth is, Arduinos are not specialized. In fact, they are very general purpose. They are fairly small, fairly cheap, and extremely flexible—that’s why they caught on like wildfire. They have all kinds of I/O ports and expansion cards. They allow a maker to go out and build something cool really quickly. They even allow companies to build new products quickly.
The unit price for an Arduino is much higher than a printed circuit, but time to a minimum viable idea is much lower. With a printed circuit, the unit price can be driven much lower but the upfront capital investment is much higher. So, long story short, the answer is—it depends.
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