Back in 2008, we (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, were constantly 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 waring monkey!
We loved the idea and decided to keep the new maker offerings on a separate website, on www.TinyCLR.com We started by offering the FEZ Panda in 2010. Makers loved the FEZ Panda and our maker community started growing rapidly.
Later that year the FEZ Panda II was introduced and became the most popular FEZ Yet! With the ease of use and popularity, 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 the TinyCLR operating system replacing NETMF on our offers, a new FEZ was introduced in 2017. After almost 10 years of leading-edge development, the new FEZ is released and is simply called FEZ.