Intel tempts Internet of Things developers with simple firmware engine

News from IDF 2015

In an efforts to not be left behind in the fast-moving Internet of Things (IoT) sector, Intel has introduced a new universal firmware engine that helps developers get hardware using Atom or Quark chips off the ground quicker.

The new Firmware Engine, which was unveiled at IDF 2015 in Shenzhen, China, takes the form of a GUI that lets developers build custom firmware images for Intel-powered devices without needing to fiddle around with the source code.

Developers start off with an Intel-approved firmware image where they can then add or remove features to fit their needs. There is even the opportunity to add third party components and integrate custom boot payloads. The images produced at the end of the process are based on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) specifications and can be booted on compatible operating systems such as Windows, Android and Linux.

For any developers in the hankering for a little bit more, they can extend the firmware's usefulness by using the Firmware Engine SDK. The firmware itself supports reference boards based on Atom chips as well as the specialised Quark chips that are geared towards IoT devices. The first boards to be supported are the Intel Galileo Gen 2 and MinnowBoard, according to The Register.

Intel's IoT platform

Intel unveiled an IoT platform in December 2014 that combines software and hardware and is designed to allow its partners bring complete IoT systems to market that already take security and management capabilities into account.

Alongside this there is a solution from Intel-owned McAfee called Enhanced Security for IoT Gateways based on the platform and it's hoped this will assuage fears of IoT security becoming a problem.