Intel Joule: The best IoT computer yet?

The Intel Joule has been released. Yesterday, Intel made a announcement that took the maker community by surprise. The Joule is a extremely feature dense board which really packs a punch. But does it stand up to the venerable Raspberry Pi which is seems to want to directly compete with? Is it even worth it's price tag? These are some really good questions I will be addressing in this post.


First things first. Before we even take a closer look at the new board, let's first analyze the specifications of the board.
The Intel Joule is available in two separate models, the 570x and the 550x and both of them have impressive specs which beats anything I've seen in that kind of a compact platform before.

The Intel Joule 570x module features:

The Intel Joule 550x model features:

A closer look...

Now let's look at the more subtle features in the board which isn't indicated in the fact sheets. The board is sold as either a single computing module or with the accompanying development board. It retails at a whooping 370 dollars. Ouch! The price is a bit too much but to fair to Intel they are packing a lot of goodies into this board.


I'm really confused with Intel's marketing with this one. Although they claim it to be an IoT device, the Intel Joule doesn't seem to really be very IoT. Given that most IoT devices are embedded systems, there is no need for Intel to cramp integrated graphics into it if they were targeting the IOT market. However, it does very accurately tender to the needs of the drone autonomy market.

A new drone controller for SentiBots?

Maybe. Just maybe. The SentiBots project is really at a crossroads right now. We are trying to get our priorities straight so right now I'm too busy to switch to the Joule. Also we have to fix the issues with the Intel Edison we keep having before making the leap to the more complex Joule.

Bottom Line

My final thoughts on this board is that, it is a really good board from Intel which caters very well to the needs of autonomous robots. Other than that niche application, where small size and form factor are key, I don't see how the price tag could compete with the Raspberry Pi which is just a cheaper platform. I honestly find the price tag of the board just a bit too big of a pill to swallow.

[P.S.- The Ubuntu Core OS totally wrecks Yocto in my opinion (Editor: Yocto is awesome!)]