Arduino, a line of low-cost, open-source electronics boards developed in Italy in 2005, has gained a passionate following among do-it-yourselfers and the "maker" community in recent years. The boards have been used to build everything from environmental sensors to robots. But Arduino is about to get even more powerful support, quite literally, in the form of Texas Instruments. The US electronics giant has partnered with the Italy-based Arduino organization to create a new board, the Arduino Tre, that uses TI's 1-gigahertz Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor. First previewed on the Arduino blog on October 3rd, the Tre was formally unveiled at the Maker Faire in Rome earlier today, with availability expected in the "spring of 2014."

Promising 100 times the performance of the current Arduino leading models, the Uno and Leonardo, the Tre can run full Linux. It should give Arduino developers the chance to develop applications in numerous computing environments that demand more power, such as 3D printing, wireless data transmission and more. The announcement comes on the heels of TI rival Intel's own foray into Arduino support, a new board known as Galileo, which was also formally unveiled at the Maker Faire last week and is due out in late November at a price under $60. However, as CNET points out, because the Tre uses the same ARM architecture found in many mobile devices today, it's likely to prove more enticing to developers interested in a more familiar and cross-compatible architecture. No exact final pricing has yet been given for the Tre, so that will no doubt impact the popularity of the board as well.