The Light Blue Bean Goes Mobile

The Light Blue Bean Goes Mobile
The iOS Bean Loader with the Light Blue Bean
The iOS Bean Loader with the Light Blue Bean

We’ve taken a couple of looks at Punch Through Design’s Light Blue Bean, including getting hands on back when the Bean started shipping to pre-order customers.

One of the features that really made the Bean stand out when it was announced was that it was going to have the ability to write, and then upload, code directly from your iPad (or iPhone) over Bluetooth LE.

But the first version of the Punch Through’s app didn’t support that, and the company took a lot of criticism—both for that, and the late arrival of cross-platform support for Windows and Android. However, they promised that the next release of their app would include support for compiling and loading sketches from iOS, with support for Android and Windows 8 following closely after that.

The iOS Bean Loader application

Today Punch Through announced the release of their new Bean Loader application which will let you write and upload code from a Bluetooth LE capable iOS device—with both iPad and iPhone supported—making it the first Arduino board to support a mobile platform and allowing you to write code without your laptop.

The app has a syntax highlighting editor, and a modified keyboard allowing you easy access to the symbols you’ll commonly need when writing sketches. You can either store these sketches locally on your device, or link the app to your Dropbox and store the sketches there—which also gives you an easy way to synchronise code between desktop and mobile devices.

Uploading Code
Uploading a sketch to the Light Blue Bean using the iOS Bean Loader app.

I’m really pleased to say that, unlike the problems I had with the desktop Bean Loader software on OS X during the Bean’s pre-release, I didn’t have any problems with their new Bean Loader application on iOS—it worked out of the box.

That makes the Bean unique. Right now it’s the only Arduino-compatible board, that I know about, that has support for writing, compiling, and then uploading a sketch directly from any sort of mobile platform.

I’ve used the Bean in several of my own projects since getting hold of them back in June, and I’ve been generally impressed with the board—the hardware architecture is well thought out, and the Bean library for the Arduino is similarly impressive.

While I’m sure others are looking forward to the promised cross-platform support for Windows and Android, for me at least, the arrival of the Bean Loader for iOS has moved the Bean from being only promising, to being a stand out product.

To celebrate the launch of their Bean Loader app Punch Through is having a 10% sale, and not to miss out on a good thing, we’re doing the same. If you want to pick up a Bean use the promo code BEANBLE on checkout at the MakerShed to get 10% off until Wednesday 26th November.


6 thoughts on “The Light Blue Bean Goes Mobile

  1. sebastienb says:

    Awesome, maybe i’ll start using the pack I bought earlier this year :-), but still waiting on the android app

  2. GA Tablet says:

    Have you hear of Not exactly a board since you have to supply your arduino but it’s pretty close

  3. An Interview with Colin Karpfinger - Blendling Bean Brio | The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast says:

    […] Now it is possible to run your Light Blue Bean apps from an iPhone or iPad. Interestingly, the compiler isn’t on the iPhone/iPad app, it’s on the cloud (linked into Dropbox). […]

  4. The Light Blue Bean, now on Windows | MAKE says:

    […] for development on iOS took some time coming, arriving in the middle of November last year, six months after the Bean’s initial release. However Punch Through also promised […]

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Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.

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