If you want to scroll down and find out who the winner is, don't bother — there's really no sense in trying to declare the "king of $1 MCUs" as everyone knows the best microcontroller is the one that best matches your application needs. I mean, everyone knows the best microcontroller is the one you already know how to use. No, wait — the best microcontroller is definitely the one that is easiest to prototype with. Or maybe that has the lowest impact on BOM pricing?
I can't even decide on the criteria for the best microcontroller — let alone crown a winner.
What I will do, however, is offer a ton of different recommendations for different users at the end. Read on!
Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier's best and most neatly prophetic joke is the one about the price of Robocop's CPU.