What is the Intel Edison for?

November 05, 2014 // By Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx
Intel have released the long-awaited Edison. Slated as a powerful microcontroller the size of an SD card, Intel's answer to the Arduino, the Edison was built to change the world of Makers and lubricate the Internet of Things (IoT) development.

The Edison costs $50. In addition to using "make" in the catch phrase, Intel have even chosen to use maker distributors like Sparkfun and are giving it heavy coverage at Maker Faires around the world.

 
We think the Edison looks like a product with limited potential as currently designed and positioned. Arduino is great because it is cheap and easy to use because it has lots of solderable analog and digital IO pins. The Edison appears to capture neither benefit. Whereas an Arduino Nano costs about $4, the Edison costs $50 but you only get a bare board that is useless to a hobbyist.
Then you need a breakout board for another $25-$100. The Edison uses 1.8V logic which is incompatible with pretty much every sensor out there so you need two PSU and logic level converters as well (which you can buy for $25 each).

Although it has horsepower (dual core 500MHz) it apparently lacks some basic functionality found in the $4 Arduino Nano like the ability to read an analog voltage, i.e. ADC. In applications such as wearable technology, the hobbyist boards enter production. For more information see the IDTechEx report, Wearable Technology 2014-2024: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts .

 
In the Internet of Things, as Cisco says, we shall only see the intended billions of IP addressed nodes with up to ten sensors if the cost is rock bottom, which almost certainly means Chinese manufacture. On the other hand, people are also comparing the Edison to the Raspberry Pi but its main shortcoming there is lack of video output. The Raspberry Pi has a GPU with HD video output via HDMI.
The Edison has nothing at all. Intel staff have been unable to give us a clear idea of what the Edison can achieve in the market place in the high volumes a huge company like Intel must seek. An ARM-based SoC with all the usual sensors