Feeds

Intel bungs PC on an SD: Tiny computer for Internet of Things and wearables

Edison is x86 giant's latest attempt to cope with an ARM world

Mobile application security vulnerability report

CES 2014 Intel has put a PC into an SD card-sized casing. Dubbed Edison, the micro-microcomputer marks the chip giant’s first attempt to address the emerging wearable computing business; part of its strategy to cope with a world where punters buy far fewer traditional personal computers.

Or, more specifically, where ARM and not Intel is the dominant processor platform.

Edison is based on Intel’s Quark chip, which it launched last year as its attempt to muscle in on that other flavour-of-the-month market: the so-called Internet of Things. It also reflects the company’s new-found keenness on the "maker" community.

Quark, a 32-bit low-power x86 processor, sits inside Intel’s Arduino-compatible Raspberry Pi-alike Galileo board computer. Edison takes the same chip, connects it to a wee bit of LPDDR2 memory and Flash storage, and plugs in Bluetooth 4.0 Smart - aka LE - and Wi-Fi for broader connectivity.

Intel Edison

While Edison is based on the established SD card form-factor, Intel hasn’t confirmed the card uses the storage format’s electrical interface. We assume it does: there would be little point in adopting the SD card size and shape if developers couldn’t fit a low-cost SD card slot onto their project boards to take the Intel card.

Intel’s approach is identical to that of Anglo-American Internet of Things startup Electric Imp, which has been offering an SD card-sized device for almost a year. Unlike Edison, the ARM-based Imp, in either its slot-in SD card or solder-on form, lacks Bluetooth Smart for device-to-device connectivity. Instead, it uses Wi-Fi to connect code running on the card to web- or app-based user interfaces via the firm’s servers.

Indeed, that’s a key aspect Edison lacks: a dedicated server infrastructure developers - be they individual makers, small startups or even major OEMs - can leverage to link IoT hardware embedded in their products to apps on users’ phones, tablets or traditional computers.

To be fair, Edison is aimed more at the wearables market than IoT applications, though its form-factor makes it suitable for both. In any case, Imp is available now; Edison won’t be available, Intel said, until the summer.

Edison was unveiled yesterday during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote. He also whipped out various wearable reference designs, including a Bluetooth headset to communicate with phones’ personal assistant apps, such as Siri and Google Now, and a pair of earphones with integrated biometric sensors. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.