A month or so ago LEGO invited LEGO user groups to field questions they had about the new Powered Up! platform that has been introduced this year in the City Trains and app-controlled Batmobile. It's likely that next year it will replace the Power Functions system completely in all product ranges.
The answers to the questions have now been posted on the LAN blog and unfortunately there is not good news for those of us that were hoping for compatibility with the PF system and to be able to use the new motors and so on in, for example, Great Ball Contraptions.
There's no doubt it's a sophisticated system, what with Bluetooth control and auto-detection of peripherals etc., but in adding such sophistication it seems that some of the basics, and backwards compatability, have been overlooked.
"Backwards compatibility is not going to be included" and no products, e.g. cables, that enable the systems to be connected will be produced. Instead, LEGO will rely on the community to come up with solutions although it seems that the connectors are patented so how that will work I'm not sure.
Many questions are answered with "Without disclosing how we are going to develop and launch the Powered UP platform we can say that it is the future LEGO electronic building platform to cover products across both DUPLO, LEGO and TECHNIC building areas." which I guess is understandable but as a result we are really none the wiser about if, and how, the new platform will meet our needs as MOCers.
For example, it seems that currently it's not possible to "to just connect a battery to a motor (or a light), switch it on, and let it run" which of course is a necessity for GBCs or any other motorised model you might want to display. We can thus only hope that such basic operations become possible in the future.
Anyway, have a read through the Q&A and let us know your thoughts in the comments here or on the LAN blog, then go ahead and stock up on PF components which we are told "will not disappear from one day to the other and components will be available through [email protected] in an overlapping period."