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Intel kills Curie module and Arduino 101 SBC

Jul 25, 2017 — by Eric Brown 2,835 views

Intel is discontinuing its Curie wearables module and its Curie-enabled Arduino 101 SBC. Last month, Intel shut down the Joule, Edison, and Galileo.

A month after Intel discontinued its Linux-ready, Atom-based Intel Joule and Intel Edison modules, as well as its Quark-based Galileo Gen 2 single-board computer and its Recon Jet sports eyewear, the chipmaker announced the “end-of-life timeline” for its Quark-based Intel Curie module and the discontinuation of its Curie-based Arduino 101 SBC.

Intel Curie (left) and Arduino 101
(click images to enlarge)

Intel will no longer update the Curie’s Open Developer Kit, and will continue forum support only through Sep. 15. After that, “Intel will make its online resources available for review only and maintain availability to the Intel Curie community until June 15, 2020,” according to the July 18 Intel forum post.

Intel says it is “actively working with alternative manufacturers to continue to make the Arduino 101 development board available to the market.” The chipmaker will support orders of the Arduino 101 through Sep. 17, and will fulfill those orders through Dec. 17. will continue to offer Arduino IDE support for the 101.


We found out about the announcement from a post on Seco’s UDOO forum, which noted that the Curie is part of the Braswell Atom and Celeron based UDOO X86 SBC. Other Curie-enabled products include the Gumstix Radium 96BIE SBC, which complies with the 96Boards IE spec, as well as several emerging wearables projects such as Neopenda’s neonatal biometric monitoring device.

Two Curie-enabled SBCs: UDOO X86 (left) and Gumstix Radium 96BIE
(click images to enlarge)

The retreat from the Curie is even more surprising than Intel pulling the plug on the recently released and much hyped Intel Joule. In recent years, Intel has relentlessly promoted the Curie as a wearables platform for the Internet of Things, and the tiny module received widespread press coverage. The Intel Curie is equipped with 80KB of SRAM, 384KB of flash, BLE, and a 6-axis IMU.

The Curie discontinuation opens the possibility that Intel might also pull the Curie’s 32MHz Quark SE chip, which offers Intel x86 instruction set and Pentium support, but runs the open source Zephyr and other RTOSes instead of Linux. The similarly MCU focused Quark D1000 and Quark D2000 would also appear to be up in the air. The original Linux-ready X1000 version of the Quark is already endangered by the discontinuation of the Galileo SBC, although it has found usage on IoT gateways.

Finally, the Curie shutdown could even endanger the Intel-backed, open source Zephyr project, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation. Zephyr competes with a variety of new lightweight open source RTOSes led by ARM’s Mbed.

Several comments on both the Intel and UDOO forum posts criticized Intel for spotty public documentation and the requirement for signing NDAs to get the full story. The Curie’s Arduino library, which drives the Arduino 101, was also dinged for poor support.

The Arduino 101 known as the Genuino 101 outside the U.S. was a collaboration with Arduino LLC that first shipped in early 2016. Supporting both Zephyr and the Arduino IDE, the Arduino 101 expands upon the Curie with Arduino shield compatibility. The 68.6 x 53.4mm board shares the same footprint, pinout, and single USB Type B port as the Arduino Leonardo.

Intel’s retreat from the embedded board and wearables module business does not necessarily mean the chipmaker is backing away from building Atom processors for third party embedded boards. Clearly, however, these recent discontinuations along with Intel’s retreat from the smartphone processor market will give developers pause in banking on any of Intel’s future projects. Intel, meanwhile, is focusing the bulk of its efforts on new desktop and server competition from AMD processors such as the Ryzen line, as well as high end ARM SoCs from companies like Qualcomm.

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3 responses to “Intel kills Curie module and Arduino 101 SBC”

  1. Iain says:

    Looking at the advertisements on this page it seems like NXP i.MX is the way to go if you want guaranteed long life :-)

  2. Shane says:

    Price was too high for what users were getting. Plus it didn’t offer enough ram and storage. Therefore limiting its functionality even further.

  3. marcus o'brien says:

    The 101 had a 128 node hardware neural network/pattern recogniser. It was very cool, and cheap. This is a real shame.

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