|Stellaris LaunchPad from Texas Instruments - EK-LM4F120XL|
The similarities between the Stellaris Launchpad and the MSP430 Launchpad are uncanny. The boxes are almost exactly the same. The boards themselves are exactly the same size, and I've read that the Stellaris can actually use Boosterpacks (the TI version of the shield) made for the MSP430 Launchpad.
The Stellaris Launchpad does have a cool feature - male and female headers, simultaneously I wish all developments boards had this. On the other hand, TI decided to use a micro USB connector instead of the mini-USB connector that was on the MSP430 Launchpad. I'm not sure what advantage the micro-USB connector has over the mini, but now I will need micro,mini and type-B cables on my bench.
The specs on the Stellaris Launchpad are incredible, especially for a $4.99 board. I looked up the Arm Cortex M4-F chip on Digi-key and the chip costs around $9.00 in one-off quantities. There are two of these chips in the Stellaris Launchpad eval board.
Stellaris Launchpad Specs:
Speed - 80 MHz
GP I/O - 35 - 5V tolerant
Flash - 256kb
i2c - 4
ADC - 12 analog-digital converters, each with 12 bits resolution
UART - 8
Going from an Arduino or MSP430 Launchpad to a Stellaris Launchpad is like going from a Honda Civic to a Ferrari.
It's important to note one distinction between the Stellaris Launchpad and the MSP430 Launchpad. It's a distinction that even TI is sure to make. The MSP430 Launchpad is labelled as a 'Development Tool', while the Stellaris Launchpad is labelled as an 'Evaluation Kit'.
What's the difference? With the MSP430 Launchpad, you can program the chip in the Launchpad, then remove the chip and plug it directly into your project. The Stellaris Launchpad simply cannot work like this. The Arm Cortex M4-F chip comes in a quad flatpack that is not as simple as plugging a DIP package chip into a socket. You will either have to custom make a board, or use a breakout board of some sort. I guess you can't expect to get this kind of power and I/O count without moving to an SMD device though.
There are already some good Stellaris resources available:
Stellaris at TI - This includes a series of "Getting Started with the Stellaris Launchpad' video
Stellarisiti - Forum for the Stellaris Launchpad by the same guys that bring us 43oh.com