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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.