Today at Intel’s annual Developer Forum, the hardware manufacturer announced the latest in their Internet of Things-focused product kits: Joule. Based around Intel’s canceled-but-not-quite Broxton Atom processor, Joule is designed to further augment Intel’s existing lineup of kits by offering a much higher performance part based on the latest generations of the company’s technologies.

Back in 2013 Intel announced Galileo, the first of what has become a collection of IoT kits/platforms for hardware developers. Galileo and its compatriots Edison and Curie turned out to be solid hits for the company – even with competing kits already on the market – driving a big part of Intel’s overall IoT growth in recent years. The System on Module boards proved popular with tinkers and product developers alike who needed small systems for everything from small prototypes to a commercial off the shelf boards.

Intel IoT Kits
  Joule 570X Joule 550X Edison
SoC Intel Atom "Broxton-M"
Intel Atom "Broxton-M"
Intel Atom "Tangier"
CPU 4x Goldmont @ 1.7GHz, Turbo to 2.4GHz 4x Goldmont @ 1.5GHz 2x Silvermont @ 500MHz
1x Quark @ 100MHz
GPU Intel Gen9 Intel Gen9 N/A
Storage 16GB eMMC 8GB eMMC 4GB eMMC
Wireless 802.11ac w/MIMO + BT 4.1 802.11n + BT 4.0
Dimentions 48 x 24 x 5 mm 35.5 x 25 x 3.9 mm

Joule then extends Intel’s presence in this market by offering a higher performing part in their IoT portfolio. Whereas the previous top-tier Edison board used a combination of Atom Silvermont and Quark CPU cores and paired this up with a respectable amount of RAM, NAND, and I/O options, Joule goes much further. The SoC at the heart of the board is Intel’s Broxton-M, which although was canceled for consumer devices, as we can now see will instead be making a home for itself within Intel’s IoT product family.

Intel is offering two different versions of the Joule board. Both use the same SoC, but they vary in clockspeeds and memory. The more powerful of the two, Joule 570X, uses what Intel is calling a Atom T5700, which is a quad core Goldmont Atom configuration with a base clock of 1.7GHz and can turbo to 2.4GHz. This in turn is paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and a 16GB eMMC NAND module for non-volatile storage. Meanwhile the Joule 550X drops the quad core Atom to 1.5GHz with no turbo, and features 3GB of LPDDR4 memory along with 8GB of NAND.

Both Joule boards also feature the same I/O connectivity. On the wireless side, this is composed of a radio supporting Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac (MIMO is listed supported, so I’m wagering this is a 2 spatial stream solution). And on the wired side, USB 3.0 is supported, along with the vast collection of GPIOs, UARTs, and MIPI’s camera (CSI) and display (DSI) interfaces.

The Joule module itself is said to only be a bit larger than the Edison module – which was usually measured relative to a postage stamp – and in the brief glimpse of the module we got when Brian Krzanich held it out on stage, I’d say we’re looking at something not too much bigger than a stick of gum (or perhaps the old Sony memory stick). Intel hasn’t released the full documentation for the kit yet, so we don’t have power consumption information available, but given the higher performance goals for the kit (and the quad Goldmont CPU cores), it’s a fair bet that it’s going to be higher than Edison.

As you might expect from the specifications, Intel is aiming Joule at a higher performance class of use cases. Ultimately as a maker kit it’s a bit of an “if you build it” situation – it’s up to developers to figure out what to do with it – but Intel sees it as being useful for drones, AR/VR, robotics, and for the first time in one of their IoT products, computer vision. While we don’t have a ton of hard details on the underlying iGPU, it is powerful enough for certain CV tasks, and it supports both 4K video capture and display. It also supports Intel’s RealSense camera, giving developers the option of using the underlying depth sensing capabilities for improved vision/analysis.

Finally, on the software side of matters, the Joule will support a few different OSes. The boards will default to a new Linux distribution specifically designed for the hardware that Intel is calling Reference Linux OS for IoT, and Cannonical’s “Snappy” Ubuntu Core is also supported. Meanwhile Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core is also supported for developers who need Windows interoperability.

Wrapping things up, along with today’s announcement, Intel has already begun selling one of the Joule SKUs, with the others to follow. The Joule 570X development kit, which includes the Joule module, carrier board, WiFi antennas, and other components is on sale today at IDF for $369, and will be available through Intel’s partners next month. At that price it’s fair to say that Intel is not aiming to have Joule compete with more mainstream kits – or even their own Edison kit – but rather at the more upscale kits such as the (even more expensive) NVIDIA Jetson TX1, which is a much tighter market in terms of the number of competitors.

Meanwhile the lower-end 550X development kit and the stand-alone Joule modules are scheduled for release in Q4. Pricing for those products has not yet been disclosed, though given the intent for Joule to be used in mass production devices, it’ll be interesting to see what Intel prices the stand-alone modules at.

Source: Intel

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  • ddriver - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    The module itself is too big to begin with, not to mention the dev board. Also, specs are overkill for IoT, it doesn't need such fast storage, it doesn't need the 4 gigs of ram, especially considering that most atom tablets are still crippled at the pathetic 2 gigs of ram in devices which could actually make use of it, it doesn't need the CPU power, it certainly doesn't need the windoze spy/adware, it especially doesn't need the power requirements for all this. And all this for "only" 369$? U crazy?

    Why does intel even bother? They can't do business without fat profit margins, they already failed to make any significant presence in the mobile device market, and IoT margins are even lower. Cortex M and R are really all IoT needs, and in some applications even smaller 8bit mcus make sense, they are tiny, easy to work with on the very low level and cost next to nothing. Who needs a lousy atom in IoT, that's an application processor, not a hardware device microelectronic.
  • smilingcrow - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    It's clearly a high end device with features, performance & price to match and aimed at a niche market. Way to miss the point yet again. Clueless troll. FO.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    A very niche market, I reckon one year in sale this product will own a whooping 0.0000001% of the IoT market, and of all the people who use it, 99% will be doing so because intel gave them the boards away for free advertising and paid to use them instead of something that actually makes sense.

    Your immediate resort to personal attacks really goes to show who the troll is, and also the fanboy. And your ignorance towards how poorly suited this "high end" lousy overprices atom is compared to dedicated, much more energy efficient and much cheaper solutions goes to show who the clueless is. And since I am not convinced in your powers of deduction either, I will just say it straight to make it easier - it is all you ;)

    By the time this hits market arm boards will be trashing it at 1/5 of the cost. Intel seems desperate to show it can do something other than milking their monopoly on x86, but as is evident from the market share they "conquered" in those other areas, they fail miserably at it, a failure further amplified by the tremendous amount of resources at their disposal failing to deliver. Seems like intel doesn't do too well in markets where it actually has competition, wish they had competition in x86 as well. Instead of creating designs to target specific markets, they try to cram their x86 cr@p in there cuz that's all they know and have, but with the prices and margins of ARM chips that sh1t ain't gonna fly.
  • smilingcrow - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    Just got sick of the almost continuous stream of crap you post on here.
    They are selling it partly on seemingly exclusive features such as the RealSense camera.
    For some people x86 is a bonus depending on their skill set and tool-set.
    It's obviously not aimed for high volume at this price so to ignore its unique features over a much cheaper ARM product aimed for the mass market shows your ignorance.
    So either you are ignorant or trolling or probably both in your case.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    Ddriver always shit-posts.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    joey always calls shit opinions which do not agree with his suck-up-to-tude.

    But... but... it's got the "realsense" camera, that's amazing, at least intel claims it is. Oh wait, that's just another failure waiting to happen product of intel's misguided aspirations to be on the "forefront of innovation". Duh, it's two cameras and some software for gesture recognition, because you know, waving your hands around is so much better than traditional input techniques. I got only one gesture for realsense, and nobody on the planet needs software to recognize it :D

    Hopefully one day you will realize this behind this hype is yet another tool for producing, entertaining, milking and controlling sheeple.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    I honestly don't care about anything IoT or even developer kits like Raspberry Pi's, etc. so at this point you're shoving words in my mouth, as if I intimately cared about the technology presented in the article. I don't; I just read the article, scrolled through the comments section, found another person that had an agreeable post and posted a reply in agreement.

    I think you're just triggered because I called you out (along with another poster) that you frequently shit-post in Anandtech comment section. There's nothing else to say here, and saying anything further on the matter would essentially be feeding the troll.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    So you enter a "discussion" in an article with a topic you are ignorant of and don't care about to whine about someone else's opinion on the subject? All you wanted was to agree with someone. So quaint. It seems like you are in need of approval, thus provide approval for the sake of getting back some in return. This indicates underlying psychological problems, you may want to consult with a shrink, this is not an insult but a helpful advice. It is not a matter of thinking with you, but a matter of believing, that I "triggered" because you "called me out" but there isn't anything to indicate that's the case. You went whining because I have actual knowledge on the subject and standards that I dictate and not the industry, and you did it while having absolutely nothing to back it up - way to go. Thus you resort to the "that's all, if you reply you are a troll, if you don't - I showed you" cliche - so "by the book" wannabe. If you have like a few brain cells working, you would seriously think over what I just said, because chances are this is the best thing anyone is ever going to do for you. If you consider others substantiated opinions "shit" just because they don't agree with your unsubstantiated somewhat-of-an-opinion you are in dire need of professional help. If you have a problem with criticism towards a long time monopolist who has done irreparable damage to progress and innovation for the sake of profit and still struggles to stay relevant by cramming his stuff "everywhere" it doesn't belong - then that's an indication of a deep and serious underlying problem.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - link

    Hey, just FYI, but you should probably take a look in the mirror, because not once in your incoherent ramble did anything you say make any sense, nor did anything of it hold any truth, at all, whatsoever.

    Your post is a pretty key example of online projecting; You're projecting your own character flaws onto someone else whom just made a post to say they agree with another poster.

    You kind of need to learn to "deal with" online posts.
  • Images - Monday, November 21, 2016 - link

    Are there going to be any alternatives to it in a bigger variant? As most of the people know the intel atom has really powerful series, not only for some of them, but all of it.

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