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Intel Dropping 3 IoT Developer Component Product Lines

The Edison, Joule and Galileo components are being discontinued, though Intel says it remains committed to its internet of things business.

Intel is discontinuing three of its internet of things (IoT) developer product lines for IoT research and development, including an array of Edison, Joule and Galileo compute modules, breakout boards and development boards.

The company announced the moves on June 16 with little fanfare, through "Product Change Notifications" on its developer components webpage, along with dates for the end of order availability, support and final shipping dates.

Discontinued components include the Edison Compute Module with and without on-board antennas, the Edison Compute Module for IoT wearables, the Edison Kit for Arduino, the Edison Breakout Board Kit, the Joule 570x Developer Kit with Expansion Board, the Joule 550x Developer Kit with Expansion Board, the Joule 570x Compute Module, the Intel Joule 550x Compute Module, the Galileo Board and the Galileo Gen 2 Board.  

The last date to order the discontinued components is Sept. 16 and the final shipping date for the items is Dec. 16.

All three product families were aimed by Intel at encouraging developers to create new IoT products and concepts using the boards, modules and other components. 

The Edison development was targeted to encourage rapid prototyping of IoT and wearable products, while the Joule was a system on module (SoM) design aimed at helping inventors and IoT developers look at new ways to imagine and build robots, drones and IoT devices.

The Galileo boards are system on chip components aimed at the maker community, students, and professional developers, which use a simpler and less expensive development environment compared to the Intel Atom and Intel Core processor-based designs.

In a statement to ITPro, an Intel spokesperson declined to explain in detail why the products, which were being distributed by the company's New Technology Group, are being dropped.

"IoT remains an important growth business for Intel and we are committed to IoT market segments that access, analyze and share data," the spokesperson said. "These include retail, industrial, automotive and video, which will drive billions of connected devices made smarter with Intel."

Several IT analysts told ITPro that Intel's move to drop the products is evidence that the IoT market is changing, perhaps more quickly that Intel expected. 

"This decision means that from Intel's perspective the market is maturing and they don't need to [build these components] anymore, said Mark Hung, an IoT analyst with Gartner. Competing modules and platforms from Raspberry Pi and Arduino "have really gotten the market's attention."

Hung said he was more surprised that the Joule modules are being ended by Intel since unlike the other two they are a higher-end reference computing design, targeted for drones and other IoT endpoints. "I'm not sure why they are dropping it. It remains to be seen how their strategy is going to be developing."

Charles King, principal analyst with research firm Pund-IT, said Intel's decision apparently was a reaction to the "IoT market developing differently than Intel and some other vendors once assumed." 

Another IoT platform from Intel, called Curie, remains in the market, he said, and the company also recently previewed a new 16-core version of Atom that will be appropriate for many IoT applications.

For developers who are using the soon-to-be-discontinued Intel products, "it's obviously disappointing," said King. "But we're still in such very early days in IoT that it would be a mistake think this setback will be fatal to Intel's IoT efforts."

Jan Dawson, principal analyst with Jackdaw Research, said that Intel's announcements about the dropped components was done "so quietly and with so little explanation that it's tough to know what to make of it."

The move does show that the company is backing off on some of its more maker- and hobbyist-focused IoT products, while maintaining its more serious and large scale IoT products, he said. "So this definitely isn't an abandonment of IoT as a sector, but is perhaps a sign of a narrower focus on enterprise and industrial applications, and a concession of the hobbyist space to others."

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