The Internet of Things promises to fill our lives with a never-ending succession of digital devices. These new digital devices lack the one feature that made their predecessors, computers and smartphones, wildly successful: the ability to install apps. By being open to third party software, computers and smartphones found a myriad of uses unimagined by their inventors, delighting users, attracting new customers, and helping countless individuals.
Users expect to install apps on their computers and phones, and even watches and televisions. Yet, almost no manufacturer of IoT devices allows users this freedom. We believe the primary reason is that it has been too difficult to build the software, tools, and support needed to open a product to apps in a way that retains the product’s reliability and respects the privacy and security of users while delivering a good developer experience.
The Moddable SDK is designed to work with the wide variety of hardware that powers the IoT. We’re particularly focused on what can be achieved with low cost hardware to bring installable apps to the greatest number of IoT devices. Getting started with embedded software is much easier with reliable, compatible hardware. We've had excellent result with the ESP8266 from Espressif, which has built-in Wi-Fi and is remarkably inexpensive.
As users of IoT devices, the piece of hardware we miss most is a display. A display on an IoT device has the potential to make it easier to use and to unlock additional functionality. Today most IoT devices don’t have one, and those that do disappoint. To explore this concept, we’ve created Moddable Zero, a prototype hardware module with a small touch screen powered by the ESP8266. The Moddable SDK on Moddable Zero is a great way to experiment with the potential of inexpensive IoT hardware to deliver a modern user experience.
Our name, Moddable, is our goal for the digital devices in our lives. The root of Moddable is "mod", a shorthand for "modify" and "modification."
Growing a new company involves far more people than the founding team. We are all indebted to family and friends for their support and encouragement. Thank you to the many individuals who gave their time to share feedback on our ideas and our code. You made our work better. A special thank you to Playground Global for patiently providing shelter, sustenance, inspiration, and advice that helped bring Moddable into focus.