Intel announces SD card sized GNU/Linux computer

It’s getting smaller. The brand new Intel Edison is a full blown SOC (System On a Chip), the size of an SD card.

The Edison was demonstrated at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 by Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich. It runs on an DDR2 RAM and the recently announced dual-core Quark processor, which is roughly one-fifth the size of Intel Atom.

“Pentium-class” is the term they used to describe Edison. While Quark may not give you as much performance as its older siblings, it is designed to be compact and consume way less power. The Quark uses about one-tenth the power of Atom.

Edison runs on GNU/Linux, and offers Bluetooth ad WiFi connectivity, and also has its own app store. It is “synthesizable”, which means it can be modified to fit a given use case.

Intel demonstrated the capabilities of the Edison by depicting a set of Edison-powered devices called Nursery 2.0, which allowed a parent to check on their baby from an LED mug.

Edison’s prime target is wearable devices. It is built for the Internet of Things. With Edison, Intel aims to step into the wearable market, and in order to attract developers towards it, they have announced a competition. The “Make it Wearable” competition will offer prizes up to $1.3 million, to creative developers who come up with the most innovative ideas of using the Edison. More details will be revealed later.

It seems Intel is quite serious about going truly mobile — a space where they cannot rely on Microsoft: and only GNU/Linux can help them achieve that goal.

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