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Friday, March 28, 2014
Intel Makes Changes To Edison Chip For Wearables

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich introduced Intel Edison at CES with a vision of bringing Intel's strengths to new wearable and IOT devices. Now Intel says it has further improved its smallest computer, set for release this summer.

Intel Edison is general compute platform with built-in wireless for those who wish to create a wearable or small form factor device.

Notable enhancements in Edison include the use of the 22nm Silvermont dual core Intel Atom SOC; increased I/O capabilities and software support; and a new, simplified industrial design.

Previously, Intel had said that Edison would be based on its 22nm Intel Quark technology for ultra -small and low power-sensitive devices. But eventually, Intel has chosen to bring to a board based on the 22nm Silvermont dual core Intel Atom SOC, in order to "best meet a broad range of market needs," according to Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel. Edison will include a dual core, dual threaded CPU at 500MHz with an additional MCU and over 30 I/O interfaces via a small 70-pin connector.

Intel Edison will also support existing IA-based programming tools and will be compatible with accessible developer tools used by the maker community, such as the Arduino IDE and Wolfram Language. Intel plans to also add support for Yocto Linux, Node.js and Python. In addition, Intel Edison will be connected with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE support.

Intel has added a sensor hub to the redesigned Edison, and users will be able to add sensors for location, environment and light. But this has made Edison slightly larger than an SD card. In any case, this will simplify the design process for the companies creating designs based on the platform, and will also make it more durable, according to Bell.

While smartwatches may be too small, Edison will still fit into wearable products like smart shirts or health monitors, Bell said.

Adding more sensors usually leads to more power consumption, but the chip in Edison will be able to handle the computation while consuming the minimum amount of power required for that operation, Bell added. The improved Edison will also be better at handling data transfers to the cloud through wireless connectivity.

Intel will ship Edison in the U.S. summer. Intel's wearable kits have the low-power Quark processor, which is based on the x86 architecture.

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