Back in 2008, GHI Electronics was leading the way with devices running Microsoft’s .NET Micro Framework (NETMF). With the extensions and improvement we had added, the software quality and feature set was very welcoming in the commercial industry. However, we were constantly being contacted by makers asking us to offer something targeted specifically for the maker community. Back then, our lowest cost device was the $100 USBizi Development System.
In the winter of 2009 we decided to create an Arduino-pin-compatible board but use one of our NETMF commercial chipsets. For a product name, we had a lot of ideas but then we kept saying “This product is so easy that a monkey can almost do it!”. We thought, it is not just easy, it is Freakin’ Easy! FEZ is a good short for Freakin’ Easy. Since FEZ also stands for a type of hats and we said a monkey can almost do it, we came to our all famous FEZ wearing monkey!
We loved the idea and started by offering the FEZ Panda in 2010. Makers loved the FEZ Panda and our maker community started growing rapidly.
Talking to makers, we learned more about their needs and later that year the FEZ Panda II was introduced. This board became an instant hit with thousands sold world wide. With its ease of use, FEZ started making its way into schools and even commercial companies; however, the “Freakin’ Easy” term was not very welcoming so we changed the FEZ meaning to “Fast and Easy”.
The FEZ products continued to evolve over the next several years but then with GHI Electronics’ 2020 vision and the introduction of new products, FEZ became part of the SITCore family, running TinyCLR OS 2.0 and capable of modern secure Internet connected applications.