Not to be outflanked by rivals, Intel has released the $99 Minnowboard Max, a tiny single-board computer that runs Linux and Android. It is completely open source – you can check out the firmware and software here – and runs a 1.91GHz Atom E3845 processor.
The board’s schematics are also available for download and the Intel graphics chipset has open-source drivers so hackers can have their way with the board. While it doesn’t compete directly with the Raspberry Pi – the Pi is more an educational tool and already has a robust ecosystem – it is a way for DIYers to mess around in x86 architected systems as well as save a bit of cash. The system uses break-out boards called Lures to expand functionality.
Intel is interested in this space mostly because it has been out of it for so long. Raspberry Pi runs a Broadcomm system-on-chip with a 700Mhz ARM processor and is probably one of the most popular SBCs available. The Minnowboard brings Intel’s low-power Atom processor back into the hands of hackers and makes Intel relevant in that space again – at least that’s the goal.