Intel shifts to new chips for Internet of Things

Intel this week announced a new Intel IoT Platform reference architecture and new hardware and software products as part of its effort to offer a comprehensive offering for the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

The platform includes two reference architectures and a portfolio of products from Intel and its ecosystem to address the IoT opportunity. The products include new Intel Quark processors for IoT, free operating systems with a cloud suite from Wind River, as well as those all-important analytics capabilities that are touted as essential in the IoT world.

Where a mainstream Intel chip intended for laptops might draw around 15 watts of power, one of the new Quark chips draws just 27 milliwatts, or thousandths of a watt, The Wall Street Journal reports. Intel also relaxed its preference for the underlying x86 chip design that it has used since the 1980s. The new Quark D1000 chip, the first of the three products to become available, evolved from that design but doesn't qualify as an x86 chip, according to Douglas Davis, an Intel senior vice president who heads its IoT group, the Journal said. That's because it can't run the Windows operating system or other software usually associated with x86 technology.

Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich, who spoke at an event in San Francisco announcing the new products, reiterated his determination to get in early on the IoT trend, the Journal said. The company has made a series of investments related to the field, including funding startups that make drones, smartwatches and computerized eyewear.

Intel is one of dozens of companies trying to capitalize on the market for IoT products and services. Chip design company ARM, one of its biggest rivals, is expected to make its own IoT announcements at its annual conference next week, according to Network World.

Intel's latest announcement comes almost a year after it announced a big push into the Internet of Things, saying it wanted to serve as an end-to-end reference model to unify and simplify connectivity and security. This past August, the company used its Intel Developer Forum 2015 to describe a 5G world where drones and balloons will connect the unconnected, and consumers won't need to be concerned whether it's Wi-Fi or 4G -- everything will just work seamlessly like on big network, including things like cars, scooters and refrigerators.