Intel-Joule-570X-ToScaleThe Internet of Things hardware landscape is heating up. There’s tons of devices available with many new devices being released every few months. One of the latest devices in the new Intel Joule. This is an IoT powerhouse with the specs that desktop computers had just a few years ago. The Intel Joule is built to be a high-performance platform for the Internet of Things (IoT), and It packs a quad-core 1.7 Ghz Intel Atom processor (CPU), 4GB RAM, Wifi and Bluetooth, all with additional 4K video support as well!

Intel Joule Platform & Developer Kit

The Intel Joule is a system-on-module (SOM) platform in a small, low-power package that’s ideal for the Internet of Things (IoT). It can be used in almost any solution from robotics, drones, and Industrial IoT, to VR, AR, computer vision. At a higher price point that the Raspberry Pi, the Intel Joule is able to provide a much more powerful platform to build IoT solutions that require much higher computing power than most IoT devices of the past.

The Intel Joule is pushing the boundaries of what’s traditionally considered an IoT platform. Just as PCs were first made more powerful, then Smartphones, not IoT devices are following suite. And, the Intel Joule fits directly within this progression with its quad-core 1.7 Ghz CPU, 4GB RAM and 4K video support!

Intel-Joule-570X-DevKit

The Intel Joule Developer Kit comes with the Intel Joule Compute Module & Expansion Board integrated together; as seen below. This enables developers to prototype IoT solutions with greater ease since it makes things much more plug-n-play than if they needed to figure out how to interface with the Joule Module directly first in order to get started.

Intel-Joule-570X-DevKit-BoardIn addition to the core capabilities of the Intel Joule Module (listed below in the article), the expansion board in the Developer Kit exposes the following ports and features for developers to take advantage of:

  • USB 3.0 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C port)
  • Micro HDMI
  • Micro-SD
  • 2x 40-pin I/O connectors at 3.3V
  • On-board port for Serial-over-USB debugging
  • 2 Wifi antennas
  • RTC battery connector
  • Fan header

The Intel Joule 570x Developer Kit is currently (at the time of this writing) available to purchase from Newegg for $369.99 USD.

Just as with any IoT board, the I/O pins are definitely assigned for specific uses, such as 3.3V power, GPIO, SPI, I2C, etc. Intel has made a Pin breakout mapping diagram available for the Intel Joule Expansion Board that comes with the Developer Kit.

Intel Joule Specifications

Internet of Things (IoT) hardware keeps getting more powerful. As an example the Raspberry Pi 3 is a bit more powerful than the Raspberry Pi 2 released 1 year earlier. The Intel Joule is pretty much in a different class than the Raspberry Pi, as instead of intending to be a cheap device, the Intel Joules target is to be a high performing IoT platform. As such, the price is a bit higher but that gives Intel much more room to pack a whole lot more in the tiny form factor of the Intel Joule.

Here’s some highlights of the Intel Joule Module specs:

  • 64-bit Quad-core Intel Atom CPU @ 1.7 Ghz (with burst up to 2.4 Ghz)
  • 4GB of PoP LPDDR4 RAM
  • 16GB eMMC 5.0 Flash Storage
  • 802.11ac Wifi – 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
  • Bluetooth 4.1 w/ LE (Low Energy)
  • Intel HD Graphics with 4K video support
  • UEFI-compliant BIOS

With these specs, the Intel Joule looks more like a PC platform than IoT, but this is the direction we are all moving with the Internet of Things. Just as PCs, then Smartphones have become more powerful AND cheaper, the IoT landscape is following suite in this same direction.

The Intel Joule will come in 2 models initially, the 570x and 550x. Both modules have extremely similar specs with the 570x having more RAM and a faster CPU than the 550x.

The Intel Joule 570x Module sports the following features:

  • 64-bit 1.7 Ghz quad-core Intel Atom T5700 CPU w/ burst up to 2.4 Ghz
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 16GB eMMC memory
  • Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
  • 802.11ac Wifi with MIMO
  • Bluetooth 4.1 w/ Low Energy
  • USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
  • Linux-based OS tailored for IoT and smart devices
  • Enhanced support for Intel RealSense cameras and libraries

The Intel Joule 550x Module sports the following features:

  • 64-bit 1.5 Ghz quad-core Intel Atom T5500 CPU
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 8GB eMMC memory
  • Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
  • 802.11ac Wifi with MIMO
  • Bluetooth 4.1 w/ Low Energy
  • USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
  • Linux-based OS tailored for IoT and smart devices
  • Enhanced support for Intel RealSense cameras and libraries

These are quite the impressive specs! in addition to being quite the powerhouse, or likely because of it, the Intel Joule either currently has support for, or will soon, running full operating systems rather than just a single, small program at a time like the Arduino platform.

The Intel Joule supports the following operating systems:

  • Reference Linux OS for IoT – this is the default OS from Intel and comes with a few development tools like Java and Python preinstalled.
  • Ubuntu Core (Snappy) – support is coming by the end of 2016
  • Microsoft Windows IoT Core – support is coming by the end of 2016 and will allow the use of Visual Studio to build Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app to run on the device.

Windows 10 IoT Core Support

As mentioned, support for Windows IoT Core and the Intel Joule is expected to be released by the end of 2016.

Currently the following quote is the only indication from Microsoft on Windows IoT Core + Intel Joule support:

Windows just keeps getting better. During Intel’s Developer Forum, Intel’s CEO announced a new innovator platform, Intel Joule, with support for Windows 10 IoT Core. Combined with the power of the Universal Windows Platform, Visual Studio, and Azure IoT, the Intel® Joule™ module is exceptionally well suited to help developers and entrepreneurs go from concept to prototype to production in a fraction of the time of traditional system development. Please come back soon to Get Started with Windows 10 IoT Core.

More announcements along with addition documentation and other information will likely be released / posted once official Windows 10 IoT Core support for the Intel Joule is released.

 

Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a trainer, and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

5 Comments

  1. […] Intel Joule is an IoT Powerhouse (Chris Pietschmann) […]

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  4. yeah, not really a powerhouse considering that there is no accelerated graphics support for Windows IOT and UWP apps.

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