Lego just started the buzz, should it be on their Google+ page or on their Facebook. Both of them provides links to their short announcement. So Le Mindstorms ev3 will be available soon. How soon ? From the media release, the ev3 set will be available in the second half 2013.
The content will be similar to the NXT 2 box, which means the programable brick, 3 motors and 4 sensors. It seems that there will be a remote control, which wasn’t included in the NXT 2 box. Actually, the sensors will be 2 touch sensors, an improved (compared to the NXT 2.0) color sensor and an infrared beacon.
The programable brick have been improved not only in performances, but also with an SD expansion slot, USB, WiFi and Bluetooth. They also say that the brick is compatible with iOs and Android out of the box, but I suppose that this means that Lego’s apps will be available. Of course, you’ll can connect up to 4 other bricks to one programable brick.
And yes, the system will be backward-compatible with existing Lego Mindstorms NXT.
There are some photos of what will be available in this Flickr gallery. There is no information if it is the content of the box or not, but if it is, there are some inconsistencies with what was published on other sources. First, it is nice to see that the ultrasonic sensor is still there (and believe me, this is a useful sensor). It seems to be only one touch sensor and I can’t identify the one with the two arrows (the IR beacon ? ). There seem to be only two motors as we knew them, even if the third device seem also to be a motor as we can guess from the photo of the crane. Finally, we got a view of the the remote control.
From the pictures, we can also see that the motors are bigger (more power ? ), but all the bricks have kept the same pattern. You’ll be able to connect them exactly as the old NXT ones with one difference: the central hole is no more a circular one but a cross shaped one. I think that this will make sensors orientation easier.
The set is supposed to come with 560 technic elements and from the photos, lot of gears ! I missed gears in the NXT 2.0 box, so this should be nice. Also, the tracks have been replaced with the modern technic ones.
This looks like a great set for all robotics amateurs. But also for all geeks. As the new ev3 programable brick is based on a Linux, we can expect grater hacks of this device. The set will be available on second half 2013 with a price of $350 (USD) or €350.
Mindstorms NXT 2.0 are still available either on Amazon.com or Amazon UK. You may want to have a look on their prices but it is uncertain if the price will drop or not. Anyway, as the motors, sensors and of course, technic elements are compatible, you should grab one of those boxes as they are cheaper than the ev3 set.