So I have done my fair share of programming and work on Eos boards, ion and element, however I have not worked on any cobalt based boards. I have read the product description for them and looked online but have not really found a good simple explanation of what the main difference are in their programs and what each of their strengths are compared to the other. Can anyone help me out?
The programming syntax to which you are accustomed when using the Eos family consoles is different than that of the Cobalt family consoles. However, I believe that the Cobalt family of consoles is no longer made and is considered legacy products. If that's the case, then you can only buy a new one from a dealer who has had it sitting on their shelves.
If you look at ETC's website under Entertainment Controls, Cobalt is no longer shown there. However, the Cobalt Family is listed under Legacy Consoles.
The real difference is in control philosophy.Cobalt is a Preset/State, Direct-Action console, while Eos is a Tracking/Movefade, Command-line console.
ETC published a White Paper a few years ago describing these Entertainment Lighting Control philosophies.
Both consoles can do the same shows, and even temporarily use the other's playback philosophies for individual cues, but the underlying assumptions each console makes are different.
This is really important because thinking about your show in a different way to the console will lead to (unpleasant) surprises.