This fascinating Gadget Lab post examines the Arduino phenomenon and compares it with more robust (but far less ubiquitous) alternative BeagleBoard, with commentary by Make: Online senior editor Phil Torrone. Be sure to read the comments.

Readers: Do you use an Arduino or some other other form of microcontroller — or even a mini PC like the Beagle? What do you use it for and why did you choose that platform? Leave your thoughts in comments.

[Arduino image by linux-works from the MAKE Flickr pool.]