It’s tough to be Intel these days. AMD just made a big grab for a market that is, for now, the stronghold of Intel’s Xeon. But now it seems that Intel has thrown in the towel in a market at the other end of the size and power spectrum, all thanks to a $25 board. Intel has reportedly shelved its Galileo, Joule, and Edison compute modules, the three platforms it hoped would at least let it set a foothold in the fledgling Internet of Things market where the ARM-powered Raspberry Pi is currently the crowd favorite.
This is hardly Intel’s first dance with small scale computing, and definitely not its first disappointment. In fact, the Edison platform, based on the Atom processor, was Intel’s planned way out of the mobile market where its Atoms barely left a mark. The Galileo, which was actually launched before Edison, was meant to more directly compete with the already popular Raspberry Pi, while the more Joule offered a more powerful board for more demanding applications.
These three were supposed to be Intel’s bets on the Internet of Things market, which is still in its relative infancy. Of course, that will never happen now that Intel has included them in its discontinued products, with no indication of any successor or path forward. In effect, this could mean that Intel has also given up on IoT as it had mobile.
Although Intel’s processors still reign in the PC space, it has repeatedly failed to scale those down to meet the low power requirements of embedded computers, like phones and smart home appliances. Its IoT platforms are still based on its Atom architecture, which have traditionally been seen as very poor counterparts to ARM chips, especially in power draw and thermal management. And with ARM chips getting even more powerful, they are poised to even overtake Atoms in performance.
Curiously, Intel hasn’t yet scrapped Curie, its platform for wearable devices. But given that the wearable market is at a standstill, it might not be long before Intel exits this market segment as well.