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Intel tips 14nm Atoms, 64-bit KitKat, IoT gateway

Apr 4, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,922 views

At IDF Shenzhen, Intel tipped 14nm Atom SoCs and unveiled its IoT Gateway design due to ship in devices from ADI, Adlink, Advantech, Eurotech, and Portwell.

Mobile and embedded topics were the main course at this week’s Intel Developer Conference in Shenzhen this week. Intel tipped new 14nm Atom system-on-chips and announced the availability of its previously announced, Linux-ready Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT (Internet of Things). Five manufacturer partners were announced for products based on the Atom- and Quark-based gateway, and ADI announced a White Oak Canyon gateway with full specs (see farther below).

Intel was clearly trying to woo the Chinese market aimed at Intel-based solutions for mobile and Internet of Things applications. The chipmaker announced an Intel Smart Device Innovation Center in Shenzhen, as well as a $100 million Intel Capital China Smart Device Innovation Fund.

Intel’s Sofia reference design for smartphones
(click image to enlarge)


14nm Sofia smartphone SoC on schedule

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich confirmed that Intel’s upcoming 14nm Airmont architecture Sofia SoC for entry-level smartphones is on schedule. The 3G version of the Sofia is still on target for release by the end of the year, says Intel. This will be followed up by an LTE version next year. Krzanich for the first time demonstrated Sofia and showed off a reference design.

Announced in November, the Sofia Atom SoC is the first 64-bit Atom to include an integrated baseband. It’s also the first Atom built by a third-party foundry.

At IDF Shenzhen, Intel also tipped two more 14nm Airmont based Atom SoC designs: Braswell and Cherry Trail. Intel formally announced Braswell, billed as a successor to Bay Trail-M (notebook) and Bay Trail-D (desktop). No timetable was provided for Braswell, which is designed for fanless, compact desktops, all-in-ones, 2-in-1s, and notebooks, including Chromebooks.

Intel had little to say about its previously tipped Cherry Trail SoC for tablets, but noted that it expected 40 million tablets to ship this year with Atom processors inside — four times the 2013 yield. All of these will be based on the 22nm Bay Trail-T Atom Z3000. It’s unclear how many of these will run Android rather than Windows. Intel also said that this summer it will release two tablet “master” reference designs.

On the second day of the conference, Intel confirmed that Broadwell, its delayed, 14nm Haswell heir for future Core processors, will ship later this year featuring faster Intel Iris graphics. Intel also announced separate collaborations with QVOD and Xiaomi on future set-top boxes.

KitKat for Intel released, with 64-bit support

The second day of the conference also featured more Android news, including the release of an Android 4.4 (KitKat) implementation with a 64-bit kernel that has been ported, validated, tested, and optimized for Intel Architecture (IA). In addition, the company launched a device developer resource portal for Android on Atom developers. The portal offerings will be expanded over the next few months, says the chipmaker. As we reported earlier today, Insyde Software and Timesys each announced Android BSPs for the Atom E3800 (Bay Trail-I).
Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT

Intel’s previously tipped Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT reference design is now available, says Intel. The company also announced gateway products coming from ADI, Adlink, Advantech, Eurotech, and Portwell.

Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT reference design
(click image to enlarge)

The gateway can be ordered either with an Intel Atom E3800 or a Quark X1000, the new low-energy processor found in Intel’s Intel’s Galileo hacker board. In fact, the Galileo is the official development platform for the Quark version of the gateway.

Intel’s IoT gateway is designed to connect sensor-driven devices with cloud services. The platform can aggregate, filter, and share data “from the edge to the cloud” in areas such as monitoring industrial assets, facilitating manufacturing automation, energy grid automation, and commercial fleet monitoring.

Wind River Intelligent Device Platform architecture
(click image to enlarge)

The gateway integrates software from Intel’s McAfee and Wind River subsidiaries, including McAfee Embedded Control and the Linux-compatible Wind River Intelligent Device Platform. The stack is designed for developing, prototyping and deploying application services for M2M and IoT applications.

Early customers include Shaspa (energy and building automation), RocKontrol (energy management), and Zebra Technologies, which is using the gateways in retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. TransWiseway and Vnomics are both developing transportation products.

Of the five announced OEM partners, only ADI has revealed a product with full specs. Its White Oak Canyon gateway ships in May. Portwell is collaborating with ADI on White Oak Canyon. ADI handles design and customization, while Portwell offers volume production and standard products.

Before we take a closer look at ADI’s devices, here’s the low-down on Intel’s three other partners:

  • Adlink — Adlink’s unnamed gateway solution will help “bridge its embedded building blocks for intelligent edge devices to its Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA) cloud services, providing the M2M communications for an end-to-end IoT solution.” SEMA is available in a variety of Adlink embedded products, including its recent, Atom E3800 based CMx-BTx PC/104-style SBCs.

    Advantech UTX-3115
    (click to enlarge)
  • Advantech — Advantech’s blurb in the Intel announcement was somewhat vague, and there’s no separate announcement. The company was said to have “announced the UTX-3115 fanless and wide temperature range embedded box integrated with the Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT, an ultra-thin, industrial-grade system built for outdoor IoT applications.”

    The UTX-3115 [PDF] is currently listed as a Windows-only product. The 138.5 x 116.4 x 35.98mm (5.5 x 4.6 x 1.4-inch) embedded PC features a dual core Atom E3826, which is clocked at 1.46GHz, with a 7W TDP. The device supports up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM and offers a SATA bay and dual Mini-PCIe slots. Additional specs include dual gigabit ports, three USB ports, and dual serial ports. Both micro-HDMI and VGA ports are said to be available.

  • Eurotech — Eurotech is developing a version of its Intel Atom Z510-based ReliaGate multi-service gateway and edge controller that integrates Intel’s IoT Gateway design, presumably with an Atom E3800 SoC. The device will incorporate Eurotech’s M2M-oriented Everywhere Software Framework (ESF). Last month, Eurotech announced a Linux-ready COM based on the Atom E3800 called the Catalyst BT, which includes ESF support.

ADI’s White Oak Canyon

ADI Engineering’s White Oak Canyon gateway adopts the 400MHz Quark X1000 version of Intel’s gateway design, available either with Intel’s Wind River Linux based stack or with a simpler Yocto Linux distribution. ADI hews closely to the Intel IoT Gateway mission statement, noting the “seamless connectivity between devices and the cloud, ensuring interoperability of edge devices.” The gateway is available for order now, with shipments in May.

ADI White Oak Canyon
(click images to enlarge)

White Oak Canyon ships with 1GB of DDR3 and a microSD slot, as well as dual gigabit Ethernet ports. Wireless services include a 2G/3G cellular modem, via a Telit Mini-PCIe card, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and ZigBee radios. Antennas are also available.

I/O includes an isolated RS232 serial port, USB 2.0 host and device ports, and dual Mini-PCIe slots, one of them presumably occupied by the 3G card. Also included are digital I/O and 8-channel, 12-bit analog inputs. Judging from the 0 to 55°C operating temperature, the device isn’t designed for outdoor duty. The 5VDC powered gateway runs on 4.5 Watts without radios or USB powered devices, and offers 1- or 3-phase AC power measurement.

ADI describes its relationship with Portwell on the gateway as follows: “Engage ADI early-on for development kits, customization, NPI, and initial or low-volume production, and shift to Portwell directly for volume production, standard products, and complimentary IoT standard product offerings. Together, ADI and Portwell have the agility to structure customer engagements to provide the optimal mix of hardware and software customization (when needed), new product introduction support and service, initial low-volume production ramp, and ongoing high volume production with total cradle-to-grave continuity but without margin stacking.”

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