Intel is once again having a go at breaking into the maker ecosystem, announcing a diminutive computer-on-module (CoM) dubbed the Joule and featuring an impressive array of specifications.
The success of ARM in the embedded and hobbyist electronic fields has not been ignored by Intel. The company has had several goes at breaking into these markets, largely unsuccessfully: its Genuino 101 microcontroller
is struggling to gain a foothold in a market dominated by sub-£4 AVR-based boards, the Galileo
suffered badly from poor performance, and the Edison
failed to make it to market in anything like its original guise. A bigger story, however, is the success of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi, a sub-£30 single-board computer which has sold millions - many of which, to Intel's chagrin, have gone into education.
Now, Intel's having yet another crack at breaking out of the desktop, laptop, and server worlds where it dominates: a computer-on-module (CoM) system dubbed Joule. The module is to launch in two flavours: the Joule 550x with 1.5GHz quad-core Intel Atom T5500 processor, 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and 8GB of eMMC storage; and the Joule 570x with 1.7GHz quad-core Intel Atom T5700 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and 16GB of eMMC storage. Both models include integrated on-module Intel HD Graphics, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 radios, USB 3.0, and interfaces ranging from GPIO and UART to CSI and DSI ports for cameras and displays. Both also come with a breakout board to more easily access their capabilities, and support Intel's RealSense technology for camera-based projects.
With specifications like that, however, it's no surprise to see the price eclipsing that of rival ARM-based designs: the Joule 570x kit, which includes the module and breakout board, is priced at $369 (around £284 excluding taxes). More information is available from the official announcement