Intel Edison

Intel Edison Board – New competitor on the block

Intel Edison Board Overview

The newly released Intel Edison board has received a lot of attention due to its versatility and compatibility with many other platforms. The board features an Intel Aton system-on-a-chip based on leading-edge 22nm Silvermont micro architecture dual core CPU and a single core microcontroller MCU. The board itself contains integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, memory and storage chips; this gives the board unprecedented stand alone capabilities. Such features required external hardware on boards such as the Arduino, Raspberri Pi or the Beagleboard.
Intel Edison
From a life-expectancy standpoint, the Intel Edison Arduino Board is expected to be supported by many expansion boards from third party providers; this expectation is backed up by the fact that the board has integrated support for Yocto Linux, Arduino, Python and Node.js. Lastly, it is said to have integration with the cloud platforms providing visualization of streamed data, dynamic rule evaluation/alerting and analytics.

Current Expansions for the Intel Edison

Third party manufacturers did not wait long to release their own boards which supplement the Intel Edison. There is an official Arduino kit as well as a ton of third party boards already available; SparkFun has released a full range of boards which are intended to be used with the device.
Stand Alone Board: Intel Edison

Arduino Expansion Board: Intel Edison Kit Arduino
SparkFun Boards: SparkFun Intel Edison boards

Wireless Connectivity of the Intel Edison

the Intel Edison board has a Broadcom BCM43340 chip which supports the Bluetooth Low energy protocol in addition to B/G/N and Wi-Fi. The on board PCB antenna provides decent connectivity to a neighbouring device such as a router or smartphone. There have been several third party antenna modules, but at this point they are not recommended by Intel.

The Wi-Fi and bluetooth signals are multiplexed which leads to issues when both are used at the same time at higher limits; using them together is not suggested at this point.

Overall thoughts

The Intel Edison is a great successor to the Galileo; it is also a great competitior to boards such as the Pi, the Electric Imp as well as the Launchpad boards. If the development of supplemental boards lives up to the hype, we can expect the Intel Edison to gain a lot of traction in the following years and capture a lot of the embedded market.

At this point in time, the cost of the Intel Edison (~35$) and its required peripherals such as the Arduino Convesion Board (~75$) do not seem like a great investment unless you absolutely require the functionalities it provides.