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Revamped Intel Edison IoT module to use mystery Atom

Apr 2, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Intel is overhauling its Linux-ready Edison module for wearables, replacing the Quark SoC with a new dual-core, 22nm Atom SoC, while adding to I/O and size.

On Mar. 28, Intel posted an update about its previously announced Edison module for wearables. Instead of starting out with a new dual-core version of its Linux-ready Quark processor, which appears to be delayed, Intel will instead launch an Atom-based version of the Edison sometime this summer. The change will result in a footprint that Intel says is “slightly larger” than an SD card.



Intel’s original Edison design was based on an Intel Quark
(click images to enlarge)

Intel appears to be moving ahead with plans to develop the Quark-based Edison module. However, the Atom-based version will be prioritized for a summer release, the same deadline Intel had originally provided for the Quark-based model.

The revamped Edison module will use a “leading-edge 22nm Silvermont dual core Intel Atom” SoC clocked at 500MHz, according to Intel. The dual-core Atom will provide an additional MCU and over 30 I/O interfaces expressed via a 70-pin connector.

The unnamed SoC may well be a new low-power version of the Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I) family, familiar to LinuxGizmos readers. On the other hand, it could be an entirely new wearables oriented “Silvermont” SoC family. The Atom E3800 family includes three dual-core variants — the Atom E3825, E3826, and E3827 — but they range from 1.33GHz to 1.75GHz clock rates, far beyond the new model’s 500MHz.

According to Intel, the new Edison module will offer additional I/O and a simplified, more durable design. As before, it will provide built-in WiFi and Bluetooth LE. The new Edison will continue to target wearables, but will also support other small form factor devices, says the company.

Finally, the chipmaker says it will build development boards to support the module, and provide increased software support, including the Arduino IDE and Wolfram Language. Intel also plans to add support for Yocto Linux, Node.js, and Python.

The revamped design was announced prior to today’s unveiling by Ingenic and Imagination Technologies of an Ingenic Newton module for wearables and IoT (pictured at right). The SD-card sized Newton runs Linux or Android on a MIPS-based Ingenics XBurst JZ4775 SoC, and offers extensive wireless and sensor capabilities.
 

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