With the Raspberry Pi, Arduino Due, and BeagleBone, the world is full of cheap, tiny computers that can be used by creative developers in everything from robots to space flight.
One thing these platforms have in common is an ARM processor. Now they have some competition from Intel with its “MinnowBoard,” a $199 computer in the form of a 4.2″ x 4.2″ board with an Intel Atom processor.
The first 500 MinnowBoards rolled off the production line a few months ago and sold out within a week, Senior Embedded Systems Engineer David Anders of CircuitCo told Ars at the LinuxCon conference on Tuesday. CircuitCo, also the maker of the BeagleBoard and BeagleBone computers, made the MinnowBoard after being approached by Intel, which wanted to build an x86-based open hardware platform. A new MinnowBoard production run of 5,000 boards began this week.
Those numbers won’t threaten the Raspberry Pi’s million-plus-selling business, and the MinnowBoard at its initial price is likely to attract a different customer base. But Anders believes x86 boards will reduce in size and price to the point where they will become more suitable for hobbyists.