SAN FRANCISCO ó An HVAC system on a rooftop in Minneapolis is running Quark, Intel's newest and smallest SoC. If all goes well, Daikin McQuay might someday buy millions of the chips.
Intel announced Quark at its annual developer conference here as its bid to get a jump on the emerging Internet of Things. However, it provided no details on its technical specs or when it will be released, suggesting it is more of a rushed trial balloon than a nailed-down product and strategy.
In a brief encounter after his first IDF keynote, Intel's new chief executive, Brian Krzanich, said Quark is x86 compatible. The chip he showed was made in a 32nm process, he added.
In his keynote, Krzanich described Quark as a fifth the size and a tenth the power consumption of Atom. It's a synthesizable core Intel will let others use along with third-party silicon blocks in SoCs Intel will make.
Designers will not be allowed to customize the Quark core. They can only connect third-party blocks to its fabric. Intel will allow some process tweaks for some customers, he added.
Last week, HVAC giant Daikin got one industrial reference board using a Quark chip and including WiFi and 3G support. Kevin Facinelli, executive vice president for operations at the company, dialed into the board from the IDF event here to show it is working.
"We looked at Freescale and ARM too but decided on using Quark," Facinelli said.
The mechanical engineering company was not concerned about relative silicon performance. It just wanted to offer a remote maintenance capability with high security.
Security software gave Intel the edge over ARM. The Quark reference board runs a stack of white-listed Wind River embedded operating system supplemented with McAfee security software, the kind of embedded system stack Intel has been touting for embedded systems for more than a year.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich holds up a 32nm Quark SoC.