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Microsoft pushes into IoT with Galileo giveaway

Microsoft pushes into IoT with Galileo giveaway

Interested Windows software developers can receive a free Intel Galileo board from Microsoft, as the company looks to push its way further into the embedded market.

Microsoft has launched a programme to push its Windows platform as the next big thing for embedded devices, and is putting its money where its mouth is by giving away Intel's Galileo development platform to interested parties.

Launched earlier this year, the Galileo is the first outing for Intel's Quark processor. A system-on-chip (SoC) design, the Quark is designed to offer an x86 rival to the popular ARM chips currently dominating the embedded space. 32-bit only and based on the Pentium architecture - complete with its infamous F00F bug - the processor offers extremely low power draw combined with the familiarity of the x86 architecture.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has its own reasons for wanting to see Intel capture a bigger chunk of a given market. Its mainstream Windows releases are only available for x86 platforms, with a small number of ARM SoC vendors having been granted licences to sell tablets with Windows RT. If the Intel Galileo and its x86 Quark processor takes off with makers and tinkerers, Microsoft has a chance to get its Windows platform into a whole new market.

As a result, it's perhaps unsurprising to see the company offering to buy Intel Galileo boards for developers interested in building embedded devices - except, that is, for one fact: Windows doesn't run on the Intel Galileo, which uses a custom version of the Linaro Linux distribution. What isn't clear at present is whether the company is planning on releasing a Windows Embedded port for the low-power device or is instead concentrating on its compatibility with Windows-based desktops via USB or network communications.

Either way, the company has promised to launch a software development kit for Windows that supports the Galileo in the near future and is looking for developers. Those accepted to be part of the developer programme, available by signing up on the official website, can expect to receive a Galileo for their trouble.

10 Comments

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schmidtbag 9th July 2014, 14:42 Quote
lol yeah keep dreaming MS. Without a working display, a dedicated command line, or a remote desktop service that users can easily connect to, Windows isn't going to get very far or do very much for a platform like this. That's assuming MS can reduce the bloat enough that it even functions.

What I don't understand is how they see this as a profitable market. Then again, I don't understand how Intel thought that either. The galileo has a seriously overpowered CPU on a very limited board. If they used that processor on one of the arduino mega board layouts, then I think they'd have had a much more compelling product and it wouldn't be so awkwardly shaped.
Gareth Halfacree 9th July 2014, 14:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
The galileo has a seriously overpowered CPU on a very limited board.
Speaking as someone with a Galileo board sat behind him as he types, it really, really hasn't. The Quark is terrible. The emulated Arduino compatibility is slow as all get-out (when you're being outperformed by several orders of magnitude by an eight-bit chip running at 16MHz, you know you've got problems) and the general-purpose side of things is no better. There are plenty of words I'd use - and have used, in my various reviews - to describe the Galileo's processor, but 'overpowered' ain't one of 'em. 'Overengineered,' maybe.
Xlog 9th July 2014, 15:16 Quote
At least you can buy them, which I can't say about rpi or beaglebone (no stock in farnell and rs).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Speaking as someone with a Galileo board sat behind him as he types, it really, really hasn't. The Quark is terrible. The emulated Arduino compatibility is slow as all get-out (when you're being outperformed by several orders of magnitude by an eight-bit chip running at 16MHz, you know you've got problems) and the general-purpose side of things is no better. There are plenty of words I'd use - and have used, in my various reviews - to describe the Galileo's processor, but 'overpowered' ain't one of 'em. 'Overengineered,' maybe.

How is the performance with all "compatibility" crap removed - i.e. running debian or other native distro?
Gareth Halfacree 9th July 2014, 15:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xlog
At least you can buy them, which I can't say about rpi or beaglebone (no stock in farnell and rs).
Really? Blimey, I thought all stock problems were over and done with. There's enough Raspberry Pi stock in the UK that retailers are discounting it - I've seen the Model B going for less than £24 on reliable eBay outlets. Guess it's a different story overseas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xlog
How is the performance with all "compatibility" crap removed - i.e. running debian or other native distro?
There's only one native distribution, and that's a cut-down Linaro Linux port. No other operating system will work. Remember, the Galileo has no keyboard or mouse input, no video output, nothing. Hell, the stock software doesn't even support SSH; you need to install a less cut-down variant on SD to use anything other than USB, RS232 or telnet connectivity.

EDIT:
I just dug out my reviews. For general-purpose performance, I had the Galileo compress a 10MB file with gzip. It took 25.9s to complete - compared to 8.3s for the same file on a Raspberry Pi at the stock frequencies. Now, the Pi's processor runs at 700MHz to the Galileo's 400MHz - but if you correct the Pi's score down to 400MHz you get 14.53s - meaning the Quark is almost twice as slow in terms of instructions per cycle (IPC) than the Pi's ageing BCM2835 processor. Add to that the fact that the Quark draws considerably more power and generates considerably more heat than the BCM2835 at their respective stock frequencies, and you can see why I wasn't terrifically impressed.
schmidtbag 9th July 2014, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Speaking as someone with a Galileo board sat behind him as he types, it really, really hasn't. The Quark is terrible. The emulated Arduino compatibility is slow as all get-out (when you're being outperformed by several orders of magnitude by an eight-bit chip running at 16MHz, you know you've got problems) and the general-purpose side of things is no better. There are plenty of words I'd use - and have used, in my various reviews - to describe the Galileo's processor, but 'overpowered' ain't one of 'em. 'Overengineered,' maybe.

Ah. I guess it's only overpowered on paper then. I never heard any reviews of it. Good thing I never invested in it.
RedFlames 9th July 2014, 15:43 Quote
Well i put my name down for one... not a bloody clue what i'd do with it if i got sent one and after reading Gareth's write-up i may wish i hadn't bothered but i've always wanted to have a fiddle something like this...
schmidtbag 9th July 2014, 15:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
Well i put my name down for one... not a bloody clue what i'd do with it if i got sent one and after reading Gareth's write-up i may wish i hadn't bothered but i've always wanted to have a fiddle something like this...

Beaglebone or Arduino Due might be of more interest to you, depending on what you intend to do with them. If you care more about sensors and GPIO, get the Due. If you care more about advanced peripherals like a camera, get beaglebone. Many features beaglebone offers you can do on an arduino, such as USB ports (that only support specific types of devices), networking, sound, and high-capacity data storage. The processing power and storage on the Due is more than enough for some pretty advanced programs. As of right now, my main gripe about the Due is the lack of EEPROM support, and the 32-bit integers gets to be a pain sometimes.
ArcAngeL 14th July 2014, 02:52 Quote
i'm curious, but I can't find where to sign up to get one. I'd love to tinker at these to develop some devices for the anything connected generation... Like a mod to remote control your washing machine for example.

I know the likely hood of this taking off the ground is limited, but hey I'm bored.
RedFlames 14th July 2014, 03:19 Quote
Odd... The sign-up page seems to have gone AWOL...

Also worth pointing out if you already have a gallileo, it apparently needs a firmware to whatever cut-down version of windows they plan on slapping on them
Quote:
The initial release of the Intel Galileo requires a firmware update in order to run Windows.

We will have a plan for you. Keep track of our social networking sites for an announcement.
Gareth Halfacree 14th July 2014, 08:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
Also worth pointing out if you already have a gallileo, it apparently needs a firmware to whatever cut-down version of windows they plan on slapping on them
Ah, so it *will* run a Windows variant. Eeenteresting, given that at present there's only one Linux-based OS for the Galileo.
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