What Happened To Intel's IoT Hardware Platforms?
Today I ran into an article that documents Intel's very quiet End-Of-Life-ing of it's 3 core IoT hardware platforms; Galileo, Edison, and Joule. All will ship out remaining stock with final shipment date of December 16th of this year. This comes as no surprise for Galileo but the Intel Joule was just announced and released last year at Intel's IDF and was difficult to find for the first couple of months because it was out of stock everywhere. So what happened?
Overkill and Over Priced
First and foremost I simply believe that the Edison and Joule were overkill for pretty much any serious IoT project. What Intel was able to cram into such tiny packages was impressive but simply unnecessary for what people are building in the IoT space. One person on twitter joked of the Joule, "Hey, a Raspberry Pi for the cost of an iPad Mini." Now, the Joule certainly put the Pi to shame on specs alone but there just aren't many true IoT products that require a quad core processor, multiple 4K streaming output, and 4GB of RAM. As I've said before, specs aren't everything, and Intel seems to have figured this out the hard way.
No Market or No Market...Yet
As with virtually every IoT hardware platform that emerges the immediate comparison all of Intel's platforms was to the Raspberry Pi. I find this quite puzzling since The Raspberry Pi Foundation has never really positioned itself in the Internet of Things platform market. While it certainly has made a splash in the maker space (a huge splash) it's primary mission has always been education. Raspberry Pi's were never meant to be the foundation of real products which was the expressed intention with the Intel line of products. While the world has lost it's mind over IoT in the last 5 years there are still relatively few mainstream consumer products succeeding in the marketplace. It would appear that there just isn't a strong enough market (at least not yet) for the platforms Intel delivered by ignoring education and maker applications as their main focus.
So Now What?
We keep making. Not productizing, but making. People forget that the IoT hardware space is still VERY young. We're still figuring this all out and what we need right now is more Makers! People playing around in their garage/basement/apartment exploring what kinds of hardware/software integrations will make our lives better. We need more purposeful applications of IoT and less make-it-cuz-we-can products that should have never left the R&D phase. Let's keep having fun and keep playing with these platforms that keep popping up. It's an amazing time to be alive if you're into hardware, software, or both. Let's not forget that we have access to tools and platforms that were a pipe dream a decade ago and the Intel products were just stops along the way of our IoT journey.