Can Intel’s Edison Minuscle Computer to jumpstart Wearable Computing?
Edison Micro (SD Sized) Computer is different. Significantly different from its predecessors. And not just in size but in how it is being packaged together.
For one, it supports Linux out of the box and not Windows. It subtly points to the direction Intel is progressing towards slowly. A world without Windows.
It is powered by the next generation of Atom processors, called Quark. Which Intel boasts consumes a tenth the power of Atom processor and is only one-fifth the size of its predecessor.
The computer is not much bigger than a typical SD card, which means, the next generations of this minute machine would be even smaller. Possibly MicroSD Card sized. Making them not only ubiquitous but completely new category of computing.
It comes with its own AppStore. Ubuntu had an Appstore long before Apple, Android or Nokia had one. Now Intel wants in as well. It is a clear sign that Intel is no longer interested to be the hardware manufacturer but would now be a systems integrator like Apple, like HP and like Dell (or what’s left of it).
Intel is also launching a software development competition worth US$1 Million in prizes. That is definitely a clear signal to competitors that it seriously wants to push the platform out into the wild and is not just a one off device.
Raspberry Pi may have jump started this category of really minute computers powered by low powered ARM processors, but Intel wants a piece of the business. It already has missed the crucial mobile revolution which is now controlled by ARM based chips (over 92% market share of ARM over Intel on Mobile). But wearable computing is just taking off spearheaded by Google Glass, Apple rumored iWatch (to be released sometime later this year) and other similar devices. But with an Intel Edison Computer, anyone out there can build his/her own Google Glass, or iWatch or even a self learning robot or even a wearable mobile phone. The possibilities are limitless.
There is no price set for the Edison computer, but knowing Intel and its desperation to get a big slice of the newly emerging category, it will be priced at near cost.
In the end, Linux and Open-source developers will have a field day building really cool products around it. Who knows we may finally have a smart Iron, or even a smart coffee machine. Something we may not know we wanted.