SAN JOSE, Calif. – Intel has apparently ended efforts to drive its x86 architecture into microcontroller-class chips and end nodes on the Internet of Things. Analysts generally applauded the move, although they noted it reflects in part on a market for wearables that has not emerged as fast as predicted.
Multiple reports said Intel has ended sales of Currie and other IoT boards using its Quark processors. However, the company did not directly respond to questions about Quark, a stripped down x86 chip CEO Brian Krzanich announced in his first keynote at the company’s annual developer conference.
As recently as last August, Intel presented a paper describing its D2000, a 32-bit x86 processor that consumed as little as 35 milliwatts in active mode. At the time the engineer describing the device at Hot Chips said Intel had plans “to scale [Quark] from MCUs to right below the Atom X1000 for Linux with lots of implementation options in cores and SoCs.”
At one time, Intel fielded as many as three Quark chips — the SE, D2000 and D1000. All were spins of the original synthesized Pentium-class core Krzanich announced in 2013 as a 32nm part, one-fifth the size and one-tenth the power of Intel’s Atom core.
Intel rolled out several IoT boards using Quark chips, including several compatible with Arduino starting in October 2013. An Intel spokesman said the company remains committed to supporting the DIY maker movement.
“IoT remains an important growth business for Intel and we are committed to IoT market segments that access, analyze and share data. These include retail, industrial, automotive and video, which will drive billions of connected devices,” the spokesman said, suggesting the company will focus on Atom-based gateways as its new low end.
Next page: Wearables still in search of a good fit
Intel described its Quark D2000 last August. Click to enlarge. (Image: Intel)