Yesterday, Intel announced a new module targeted to wearable technology: Intel Curie. This module continues Intel's push into IoT and wearable technology started with the Intel Edison. While we thought Edison was small, at just above the size of a US postage stamp, Curie goes even further. Intel has not revealed exact dimensions, but the overall package appears to be the size of a US dime, or small button. The circular PCB shape is also fairly unique and novel. Curie is so small it could theoretically be integrated into rings.

Despite its size, Curie packs in a reasonable amount of functionality. Curie is headlined by a new SoC Intel claims is their first purpose-built for wearables: the Quark SE. Curie was only just announced so we do not have complete specifications yet but I have compiled what is available.

  Intel Curie Intel Edison Development Platform
CPU Quark SE @ ? MHz Dual-Core Silvermont Atom @ 500MHz +
Quark @ 100MHz
RAM 80kB SRAM 1GB LPDDR3 (2x32bit)
WiFi / BT "BT Low Energy" 2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0
Storage 384kB flash 4GB eMMC
I/O Battery charging PMIC SD + UART + SPI + GPIO + USB 2.0 OTG
OS Open source Real-Time OS Yocto Linux v1.6 (CPU)
Open source Real-Time OS (MCU)
Dimensions Approx. US dime
(~18mm diameter)
35.5 x 25 x 3.9 mm
Sensors Integrated DSP sensor hub with pattern matching 6-axis combo sensor (accelerometer and gyroscope) -

Intel did not specify if the Bluetooth antenna was built into the PCB or needs to be added on. As Curie integrates sensors and a battery charging PMIC directly whereas Edison provides interfaces to connect to those same features, it is clear Intel designed Curie to be stand alone. Therefore, accounting for the other hardware that needs to be built around Edison, the size difference grows.

Intel's Curie does not include an applications processor and instead relies entirely on the MCU. This may seem limiting compared to powerful Galaxy Gear or Android Wear devices, but there are many devices such as Fitbit and even the Microsoft Band that also exclude an applications processor. This should enable Curie to be exceptional for battery life, however Intel provided no power consumption figures.

Curie will ship in 2H 2015 and be bundled with Intel IQ Software Kits. Intel IQ is a set of algorithms, device software, smartphone apps, and cloud integration (management, analytics, user and company portals) and breaks down into two components: Body IQ and Social IQ with corresponding biometric and connectivity focuses.

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  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    Let's hope it won't be such an epic fail as galileo... the fastest embedded CPU platform with the slowest speed IO, which even a 50 cent 8bit avr trounces.

    On a side note, that chart doesn't list any sort of user usable IO whatsoever, absent GPIO and at least SPI this limits the use case quite a bit, to basically a BT connected gyroscope...
  • danra - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    Well... if you AVR runs Linux 3.8, is able to deal with OpenCV, node.js, integrate with Intel IoT clouds, then you are right... each board has a different purpose and of course I would never would use AVR for advanced projects like these
  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    When you use GPIO you don't need to run any OS, nor OpenCV, galileo sucks as an arduino, and it is far too weak and quite frankly pathetic as an application processor as well. There are ARM boards half the price of the galileo which completely annihilate it in terms of features and performance.

    It seems intel will need a few more years before it makes something in that area which professionals would actually want to buy, because right now the only place you can see their embedded product portfolio is events they sponsor, universities they sponsor or individuals they sponsor. And who would want it, you try to port your arduino project to galileo, and realize it actually runs like 100 times slower to the point it is useless despite having tremendously higher specs.
  • danra - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    ARM is very slow LOL
  • ddriver - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Shows what you know, on the same process ARM chips offer better performance per watt than x86. For the price of the galileo board, which runs a single core chip at 400 MHz and doesn't even have graphics, you can get two ODROID-C1 boards which come with a gig of ram, gigabit ethernet and powerful quadcore CPU. Unimaginably better at half the price, this can only be a brainer for ignorant fanboys ;)
  • IFeelUnusual - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    That's a common mistake. Yes, standard Ardunio baseboards (~$25) are cheaper than Galileo (~$60). But if you then want to add WiFi, Ethernet, SD or USB capabilities to your Arduino you need to buy expensive additional shields which more than make up the difference. A wifi shield for Arduino will set you back $90 on it's own ... but Galileo can use a cheap mini PCI centrino module which you can buy for less than $10.

    Also, Gen2 Galileo board fixes a lot of the GPIO performance issues which dogged the first model. It's still not perfect, but is dramatically improved.

    You seem to be taking Intel's entry into this market personally. Surely it's better for everyone to have more cool tech options!
  • ddriver - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - link

    Buy one arduino and you've bought one too many. You don't need that, it is ridiculously overpriced, all you need is an avr programmer, you can get an attiny chip running with a few passive components and it will cost you less than 2$. You can still use the arduino ide and libraries, so it is a win/win. Arduino shields are just as ridiculously overpriced too. You are better off with a cheap arm board and a 10$ usb wifi dongle if wifi is what you need. Some boards actually come with wifi integrated, at a price low enough to buy a few for the price of an arduino wifi shield :) Most have ethernet and SD slots.

    I am not taking it personally, I don't have a problem with intel, just with lame and overpriced products. You'd think a multi-billion-dollar company and a perpetual semiconductor leader should be able to do better... especially in a field they are not pioneering, but others have been developing for quite a while.
  • ishould - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    I wonder if they could implement a mechanical movement charging system. That way it could be in a watch (or ring, clothing, shoes, etc) and get recharged just by the natural movements associated with these.
  • Pissedoffyouth - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    Is it x86?
  • kaidenshi - Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - link

    No, it's an MCU not a CPU.

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