It was well known that Edison was going to be discontinued this year, but Joule, which was just released, is a surprise. This is bad news for any autopilot board that uses Edison, such as Pixhawk 2.1, which will now have to move to another companion computer. (I'd suggest Raspberry Pi). From Hackaday:

Sometimes the end of a product’s production run is surrounded by publicity, a mix of a party atmosphere celebrating its impact either good or bad, and perhaps a tinge of regret at its passing. Think of the last rear-engined Volkswagens rolling off their South American production lines for an example.

Then again, there are the products that die with a whimper, their passing marked only by a barely visible press release in an obscure corner of the Internet. Such as this week’s discontinuances from Intel, in a series of PDFs lodged on a document management server announcing the end of their Galileo (PDF), Joule (PDF), and Edison(PDF) lines. The documents in turn set out a timetable for each of the boards, for now they are still available but the last will have shipped by the end of 2017.

It’s important to remember that this does not mark the end of the semiconductor giant’s forray into the world of IoT development boards, there is no announcement of the demise of their Curie chip, as found in the Arduino 101. But it does mark an ignominious end to their efforts over the past few years in bringing the full power of their x86 platforms to this particular market, the Curie is an extremely limited device in comparison to those being discontinued.

Will the departure of these products affect our community, other than those who have already invested in them? It’s true to say that they haven’t made the impression Intel might have hoped, over the years only a sprinkling of projects featuring them have come our way compared to the flood featuring an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi. They do seem to have found a niche though where there is a necessity for raw computing power rather than a simple microcontroller, so perhaps some of the legion of similarly powerful ARM boards will plug that gap.

So where did Intel get it wrong, how did what were on the face of it such promising products fizzle out in such a disappointing manner? Was the software support not up to scratch, were they too difficult to code for, or were they simply not competitively priced in a world of dirt-cheap boards from China? 

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Comment by John T on June 19, 2017 at 11:50am

I chatted with one of their promoters about volume pricing two years ago @ MakerFaire.  They astonished me by asserting that there would be *no* volume pricing for the Edison.  

I responded, "Well, good luck with a board that nobody would consider for scaled manufacturing."

Real bummer though, that was a promising little chip.


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 19, 2017 at 11:56am

Edison was always a head-scratcher for me -- no GPU/video support and relatively unimpressive overall performance -- but Joule (which was actually code-named Edison 2 within Intel) had shown much more promise. Sorry to lose that one. 

Comment by Gary McCray on June 19, 2017 at 2:38pm

Interesting after establishing themselves with a revamped calculator chip (the 8008) and then becoming a main stream player with the 8080 and its microcontroller variant the 8085, Intel now finds it doesn't fit in the microcontroller market anymore.
The main stream PC powering micros which make their bread and butter have a nice predictable life time and a planable evolution.

Microcontrollers are much more volatile.

By all accounts, Intel shot itself in the foot on these from the start though, way too little technical data available and hardly any community support other than a bunch of hype and they really weren't a significant improvement on the already entrenched ones.

If you need more power, you still need an Nvidia TX2, otherwise there are a myriad controllers to choose from that will all do about what these Intel chips would do.

I suspect it was an idea put forward by the micro engineers at Intel and was given the go ahead but little to no support from management.

Kind of Like Boca Raton and the IBM PC although that did turn out unexpectedly from IBM managements standpoint.

I am glad I didn't buy into it, I was tempted but concluded that it wasn't powerful enough anyway for what I want to do, so at least didn't waste my time on it.

Comment by Jiro Hattori on June 19, 2017 at 3:13pm

If you stick with Intel chip "Up core board" is good to go:-)  http://www.up-board.org/upcore/

Comment by Gary McCray on June 19, 2017 at 4:38pm

Hi Jiro,

Intel's little Atom (and larger) micro PC's have been interesting to me too.

Do you know if Win10 ROS is fully supported on UP's boards?

Or is it better to go with Linux?

Best Regards,

Gary

Comment by Jiro Hattori on June 19, 2017 at 9:38pm

Hello Gary,

Please look here. https://up-community.org/wiki/Setup

Comment by JB on June 20, 2017 at 12:18am

@ Gary

Intel support wasn't great but is was getting better and definitely usable. Performance wise the joule was actually really good, especially considering it's size (being about 1/10th the volume of TX2) plus there's limited support to use the Pascel cores as there's not many libraries running on the GPU cores yet, which is where it also has the performance. (Although admittedly parallel processing is better than CPU serial type for CV) 

It's a shame to see the Joule go so fast, it had potential and simplified the whole integration part, for a price.

Might have to use the Compute Card or the Intel Euclid instead...problem will be attaching a decent camera. The Joule had two independent CSI ports included, USB3 cameras are expensive and produce tons of EMI.

RE Up! OS support it runs: Microsoft Windows 10 full version , Linux (ubilinux, Ubuntu, Yocto) , Android.

Comment by Jesus A on June 20, 2017 at 6:13am
So bad news.
While docs where not so great, the CPU power, memory, and size and money were just great.
I see no replacement really.

Bad news for emlid too
Comment by Marc Dornan on June 20, 2017 at 1:18pm

Actually -- this is crushing for Emlid who have put a lot of effort in the RTK systems, all powered by Edison. I can only assume they will have to stock up until they can find an alternative.

Edit -- seems they were not using an Edison-specific features. https://community.emlid.com/t/what-is-your-plan-now-that-the-edison...


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on June 20, 2017 at 1:21pm

Marc: That was a good answer by them, and I do think they'll be fine. And once they come out with their next RTK (dual band, one assumes, to match the new Swiftnav system) they can base it on a different Linux board. 

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