32 Bit PICs
A lot of people got started developing on single chip CPUs with the venerable Microchip PIC16F84 or similar parts. Don't believe me? Search for 16F84 and watch how many results you get for tutorials, starter projects, etc.
I've mentioned before that unless I am highly cost sensitive, it is getting harder and harder to justify using 8 bit parts when so many good low cost 32-bit options are available. Microchip knows this too and they've been building their PI32 line.
They've recently announced a six-member family of 32-bit PIC32MX5/6/7 microcontrollers that provide integrated Ethernet, CAN, USB and serial connectivity peripherals with an array of memory options.
This new family also has lower power consumption (0.5 mA/MHz), higher flash memory endurance (20k read/write cycles) and common pin outs with other PIC32 chips (keep in mind, however, these are BGA, TQFP, or QFN packages -- but that's true of most new CPUs).
One nice thing about Microchip (and maybe why so many people started with them) is they offer reasonable priced development tools. Acording to Microchip:
The PIC32 Ethernet Starter Kit (part # DM320004, $72) was designed to enable easy Ethernet-based development, and the PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (part # DM320003-2, $55) does the same for USB designs. Owners of the Explorer 16 Development Board (part # DM240001) can purchase a $25 plug-in module for development with this new PIC32 family (part # MA320003).
The chips themselves are under $5 each in 10,000 quantity.