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Intel Businesses Hardware

Intel Exits the Maker Movement (hackaday.com) 84

Reader szczys writes: Intel just killed off its last "maker movement" hardware offering without fanfare by quietly releasing a Product Change Notification PDF. The Arduino 101 is halting production on September 17th. This microcontroller board is built around the Intel Curie module around which Intel bankrolled a television series called America's Greatest Makers. News on the end of life for the Arduino 101 board follows the recent cancellations of their Joule, Galileo, and Edison boards. This is the entirety of Intel's maker offerings and seems to signal their exit from entry-level embedded hardware.
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Intel Exits the Maker Movement

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  • Intel is used to being the top dog and the one that can simply set the specs and everyone has to dance to their tune. Of course having to take into consideration what others want is not something someone like this wants to deal with.

    • they can't make a profit on it; their decision is purely business based.

      Intel is not the top dog anyway, the most powerful CPU chips on the planet are made by another company that starts with "I". Most the money/financial transactions in the world exist on their machines.

  • On a positive note, more are entering the maker space and the market for the internet of things is impressive. Security hopefully will catch up.

    I see Intel trying to cut a lot of low return investments to redirect their focus into the processor space. AMD is making serious inroads and actually caught them off guard. McAfee appears to have been a misstep, although I could have called that one a light year a way.

    As soon as they secure their spot in the processor space again, they will start to branch out a

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @01:09PM (#54875581) Homepage

      Intel's problem is that they have already cut their losses and ran from the invasion of phone/tablet products. It's the 11th straight quarter [gartner.com] of declining PC shipments. Meanwhile smartphone sales are up again [independent.co.uk] now outselling PCs at a rate well over 5:1. Tablet sales are also down (Q1 numbers) [fool.com] so you might say Microsoft has managed to shore up the convertible/laptop market with the Surface line, but WinTel is completely on the sidelines in the global smartphone revolution. According to the platform statistics [statcounter.com] 53% of all Internet access is now mobile, 42% PC, 5% tablets.

      Intel is not in trouble, they have the server market and so far AMD's offering is basically a return to competition, it's a long way to go until Intel is on the ropes fighting for survival. But they and Microsoft completely failed to bring out a good x86 smartphone leveraging the tons of existing win32 code, I don't know why. I mean all the alarm bells should have gone off when the iPhone became a success in 2007, even with 3-4 years development time they should be ready to kick ass around 2011 but instead we got the Nokia flop. Considering the power of phones relative to typical office applications I'm kinda waiting for the phone with a cheap dock that gives you charging, display, keyboard, mouse, a chromebook-like UI and a bluetooth headset in case you need to answer the phone while docked. Like if you already have a phone and a TV, add these accessories and you won't need a laptop.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Like if you already have a phone and a TV, add these accessories and you won't need a laptop.

        Or simply a phone and a desktop-sized screen, sure.

        And for some things, like writing letters, or even movie scripts or entire books, some people still swear by something like WordStar, which runs fine in an emulator and since originally written in 8080 assembly, requires very little resources indeed. So your octocore phone is massively overpowered for tasks like that, or reading email, or what-have-you. Most of the oomph will be utterly wasted on "rendering" windows and proportional fonts when you'd've been

  • then will they release the specs, etc, as Open Source/... and let someone else make the things ? After all: they will not lose anything. But: I doubt that that will happen.

    • curie is dead. its not coming back. and its a good thing, too.

      it had silicon bugs that simply cannot be fixed in software.

      it needs to die.

      (I worked on curie, but I cant' say more than that for various reasons)

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        This is what I understood. Intel came to the market a day late and a dollar short, it's no surprise that they got no traction. They were never going to see the profit margins they wanted in the field, so it never really made sense for them to enter the market in the first place, except as a hedge against missing out on the next big thing.
  • Core Competency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:37AM (#54874837)

    This is about the 15th iteration I have witnessed of this.

    Step 1: Somebody at Intel gets a Bright Idea to develop some new market. We gots lots o cash so why not lets do it. (i.e. collect underpants)

    Step 2: ...

    Step 3: Profit.

    Step 3.1: Er, no profit. We ended up not owning the market. Pull the plug lets get back to our core competency: i386-architecture processors it is. What's AMD been doing recently?

    • Well, the most recent iteration of Core seems more like Core incompetency, but still... I was wondering as soon as Edison appeared in the news when they'd cancel it again. :)
    • I too have seen this happen several times. When I started my current job, Intel was a major contributor to a software project that we were working on> When I transitioned from contract to full-time employee, one of my questions at my interview was "If Intel decides to leave the space, what happens to us?" Fortunately my managers and the company were well prepared to pivot while still accomplishing our targets. Intel likes to jump into a space and throw resources at a problem hoping to out-compete the in
      • Re:Core Competency (Score:4, Informative)

        by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @01:06PM (#54875559)

        Intel likes to jump into a space and throw resources at a problem hoping to out-compete the industry leader(s). I can't remember a successful effort with that strategy though.

        Intel has had several successes. In the non-CPU product line the Network Products group (not switches) has done pretty well.

        They have also had a pretty good lasting impact on industry initiatives that they sponsored, like PCI. DPDK looks like it is getting lots of traction for something that used to be just a Intel proprietary download. Also look at any community forum like those from IEEE or IETF. You see lots of intel.com engineers contributions there.

        I am all in favor of them using their considerable resources to incubate technologies and products. The moral of the story which is hard for some people to learn is do not assume that it is going to be successful or that it is even going to continue just because Intel is behind it now.

    • To fill in Step 2: Put in a piss weak attempt thinking that the primary concern of the target market boils down to one thing such as cost or performance all while getting that one thing fundamentally wrong.

      Intel could have owned the market, but they would have had to understand it first.

    • Haha, sad but true.

  • When they are making bank on their desktop and Server CPUs the way they are, the last thing they need is a bunch of snot-nosed kids.

    Instead, they are focusing their resources on staving-off the coming AMD CPU wave...

    • When they are making bank on their desktop and Server CPUs the way they are, the last thing they need is a bunch of snot-nosed kids.

      Instead, they are focusing their resources on staving-off the coming AMD CPU wave...

      HELLO! 1990 is calling!

      • When they are making bank on their desktop and Server CPUs the way they are, the last thing they need is a bunch of snot-nosed kids.

        Instead, they are focusing their resources on staving-off the coming AMD CPU wave...

        HELLO! 1990 is calling!

        What goes around...

  • Intel's offerings in this market have been weak in terms of price/performance compared to the competition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:44AM (#54874911)

    When compared to Arduino Uno R3 and other microcontrollers, Intel microcontrollers were too expensive, bulky, and slow compared. No communitiy formed around these microcontrollers because Intel was unresponsive to the community. Sort of like big companies like Oracle who are unresponsive or allergic to community efforts.

    Let me see: $25 for an Ardunio UNO with a huge responsive community vs. $90 for a microcontroller from Intel where there is no community. Hmmm...

    • ...and less than $5 for a blue pill that runs rings around the curie chip.

      no one on the 'americas greatest makers' tv show got their custom board to work, even WITH intel's 'expert' help.

      that says it all.

      • Sorry to be so daft, but what do you mean, exactly? I am missing the reference "Blue Pill" is that a reference to IBM? the chip you reference does that run x86?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "Blue pills" are tiny ARM powered boards with microcontroller from ST Micro. They generally cost about $2-3 US dollars from China. Quite powerful and fully open. Big community built up around them. They are called "blue pills" because of the color of the circuit board.

    • There was very little market for that kind of power as well. I was doing lots of IOT stuff 2-3 years back (before I ran out of potential projects), and to me the ideal way to go was to use super cheap chips like the esp8266 to gather sensor data and do the simple logic stuff (Ex: If soil moisture x, write to pin 12 for 30 seconds, which turns on a solenoid that lets waterflow), but then send that data to a "real" computer, probably in the cloud, to do any real processing on it. The only place I saw use for

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's not it. Being more expensive than arduino is only a problem for hobbyists/thinkerers with little to no needs (beginners). Sure, it had poor documentation, almost zero support and all of that. And x86 instructions (but without PC compatibility) is not an advantage -- much the inverse.

      The real deal killer was: it's a low-end MCU (and a very crappy one at that) but for a LOT of $. No one sane would develop with that. Their crippled 32MHz MCU was ~$30, when you can get "standard" ARM Cortex M7 parts star

    • They were not at all slow in comparison. What they were was horribly documented. You couldn't make the thing work even if you wanted to, even if you had a project that could justify the price, and even if your project had the space and power capacity to handle it.

      The hardware itself wasn't a problem. It just wasn't in the same target market as an Arduino despite what the marketing said, and it wasn't supported. ... like at all.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The Intel platform didn't really offer anything compelling either. Nothing you couldn't do with an Arduino shield.

      As well as being ridiculously expensive, it was entering a very crowded market. Arduino and the various versions on one side, Raspberry Pi on the other. There was just no need for an Intel product.

  • Out with the "everybody can code" movement, in with the "programmers are hand-models, MAGA bigly!" ... I saw that stinky Obama man encourage people to code!!

  • Not a Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob Riggs ( 6418 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:04PM (#54875071) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who ever seriously considered Intel's "maker" products for embedded use (as I did) would quickly find that they were power hungry and over-priced. Either one of those problems would be death in this market.

    Marketing can cover a lot of sins, but these together are really hard to overcome. "Let's market the shit out of this shit" only really works when aimed at consumers or executives. Makers are engineers. They can smell the bullshit from miles away.

    It's a healthier marketplace without such inferior offerings in it.

    • Makers are engineers. They can smell the bullshit from miles away.

      And even if they don't the bullshit becomes impossible to miss during the prototyping stage.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      When I went to maker faires, the only projects I ever saw using Intel's boards were done by students, who obviously got them free or at a very discounted price. Seriously, it seems like Intel's only purpose was "microcontrollers, but USING EX-EIGHTY-SIIIIIIIIIX!"

      Their other boards (Edison, etc.) had this tiny-ass connector that was very maker UN-friendly, and not even designed for many attach-remove cycles. And then they refused to release detailed NDA-free chipset documentation; it was supposedly hard eve

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:08PM (#54875111)

    I'll give you a maker success where Intel failed. Check out the ESP8266

    http://esp8266.net/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP8266

    Originally sold as a low cost serial-connected wifi solution so manufactures could at "Internet" to products. Espressif also offered the now ubiquitous ESP-01 module that quickly became a very popular and cheap way to add wifi to existing arduino projects.

    Then someone started poking around at the chip itself and found it was many times more powerful than the micros that it was being connected to. (About 80 times faster than the atmega that powers the Uno) Also has a LOT more memory and flash.

    They asked Espressif for and SDK.. And they gave it to them. Fast forward, we've got an opensource tool chain and a number powerful frameworks including native arduino support.

    And arduino-like boards with gpio and power regulators and all that fun stuff so you can run sketches directly. Like the Wemos D1.. Which is about 4 bucks on ali express. (Yeah. 4 bucks for a really fast arduino WITH wifi and more memory and more storage)

    The ESP8266 was designed as a wifi-add on so it lacks a lot of features and gpio that the usual general micros have. Fortunatly the thing is fast clever programming and bit-banging can get around a lot of that. Still, there is a lack of physical pins.. And you have to be careful not to stall the or tie up the CPU with your code or wifi will drop. .. So enter the ESP32. Espressif hired the guys who wrote the tool chains above and put out a new product. Wifi, bluetooth, More memory and flash. Two cpu cores so services can run on one and your code won't break them. Lots of GPIO pins with native hardware support for a lot of peripherals and communication protocols.

    https://espressif.com/en/products/hardware/esp32/overview

    Open SDK and toolchain. Arduino support is still a work in progress and other frameworks are coming right a long.

  • all hands on desk to beat AMD they don't have time for this as they may need to make a big move to save there ass / free up room for big price cuts.

  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:25PM (#54875237) Homepage

    This reminds me of the book Makers [wikipedia.org]. In that book, near the beginning, Polaroid tries to reinvent itself through the "maker movement" and completely self-destructs. The "maker" thing is really the same thing as "open source" which is people sharing ideas with each other. As soon as you try to apply business philosophy to that, it's like trying to apply a business philosophy to the Apollo program. When you don't know what's out there, you just need exploration, not exploitation. Companies can't handle the risk involved - it's all too uncertain for a 4 year payback.

    People in their own workshops and homes are doing some amazing stuff. Companies see this and think they need to get in on it, but the hobbyists aren't doing it to make money, and most of them don't have much money, so there isn't much money to be made.

    When I was younger I made less money and didn't have a family so I had a lot more time to put into hobbies and stuff. I scrounged through spare parts bins and re-used whatever I could. I could spend hours price-comparing and trying to find components that were $2 instead of $3 to save a buck. But back then I was a real "maker". Now I have more money and a lot less time. I take on much simpler projects and I'm willing to spend money to get it done faster. I don't buy the $2 or the $3 component - I buy the $20 pre-assembled solution and plug it in. So I don't want to buy Intel's fancy Arduino because it doesn't really save me any time, and my old self wouldn't either because it's too expensive for what it does.

    • People in their own workshops and homes are doing some amazing stuff. Companies see this and think they need to get in on it, but the hobbyists aren't doing it to make money, and most of them don't have much money, so there isn't much money to be made.

      It depends on how they're trying to make money. As the old adage says, "When there's a gold rush you make money by selling shovels" or something.

      As an example, I have a project that requires me to do plastic welding. I know I can just wing it with a regular so

      • by RobinH ( 124750 )
        Make magazine had an article [makezine.com] about plastic welding by using 3D printer filament in a dremel or other rotary tool. Maybe that'll work for what you need?
    • You either have time, or you have money. It's a rare occurrence to find someone that has both. That's a very important thing to remember when setting the requirements for any new project. It has to satisfy that trade-off, because people don't want an expensive waste of time.

      However, there [wikipedia.org] are a few [wikipedia.org] exceptions. [wikipedia.org]
    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      Makers is available to read online, in its entirety, free, from the author.
      http://craphound.com/makers/Co... [craphound.com]

    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      People in their own workshops and homes are doing some amazing stuff. Companies see this and think they need to get in on it, but the hobbyists aren't doing it to make money, and most of them don't have much money, so there isn't much money to be made.

      No, there's just no room for Intel coming in like they own the place and trying to sell their insanely overpriced crap and offering zero support.

      In this context "support" doesn't mean a helpdesk with an Indian sitting at it.

      "Support" means "I can install the development tools on literally every platform from Windows200 to Linux to Mac to BSD to Haiku to Plan9". It does NOT mean "this only works if you're on Windows 10"
      It means "when I'm trying to figure something out can I google it and get some straig

      • It does NOT mean "this only works if you're on Windows 10"

        This is an excellent point. My personal machines are all Linux. If I'm looking at a new platform, requiring me to set up an entirely different OS to develop on is an immediate showstopper.

        Likewise, if the development tools require the use of anything in the cloud, that's an immediate showstopper.

  • The "maker mouvement" isn't fueled by high-priced gadgets. In fact it's the opposite, it's people building things for themselves because either what they want doesn't exists or because what already exists costs too much.

    Arduino became successful because it was powerful enough and cheap enough for thousands of projects. Then it became extremely successful when China started selling clones at about 25% or less than the original. If you have space on your PCB design, it costs less to add an Arduino Pro mini at

  • Check it: Intel Edison w/ Mini Breakout board at https://www.adafruit.com/produ... [adafruit.com]: $75!

    Sure, it's got a dual-core, dual-threaded Atom, a gig of RAM, Wifi, and Bluetooth, but it's too expensive to just say "Sure, I'll grab one and play around with weekend."

    You can grab the Starter Pack at https://www.adafruit.com/produ... [adafruit.com] for only $65, and look at all the components you get! And a ton of components, including LEDs, power supply, etc.

    Technically, it competes with the Raspberry Pi, not the Arduino, but it's

    • What a pathetic PCB design... It doesn't appear to match arduino at all, it doesn't even have dual inline pins for plugging it into a breadboard. Are they expecting me to wire wrap a spaggethi wire nest to hook this thing up to my project?

      Clueless, absolutely clueless.

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