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April 8, 2015

Intel’s new free firmware engine targets IoT edge devices

The tool was launched at the Intel Developer Forum in China.

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel Software has launched an open graphical tool, Intel Firmware Engine, to enable developers to create customised firmware for tablets, IoT and embedded devices.

Unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen, China, the firmware engine provides a catalogue of Intel reference designs for developers to configure firmware without modifying the source code.

Firmware is used to boot the system and launch operating systems on devices.

According to Intel, the Firmware Engine enables configuration of customised firmware by making simple changes to the binary image from reference platform.

This development process accelerates adding and removing firmware features not found in reference platform, adding third-party components not provided with reference platform, and integrating custom boot payloads.

Intel Corporation Software and Services Group vice-president Michael Greene said in his blog: "Firmware is essential to the boot process, but it’s not what device manufacturers want to spend most of their time working on.

"Intel is providing the Intel Firmware Engine to automate its development so they can focus on creating innovative products for their customers."

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The engine generates images based on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware codebase, to boot UEFI compatible operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Android and Linux. It uses a Microsoft Windows graphical interface.

The primary focus of the tool is on IoT edge devices, embedded devices and China Technology Ecosystem (CTE) partners using Intel Atom and Intel Quark processors, creating platforms based on Intel reference designs with minimal firmware requirements.

"This free tool simplifies and accelerates the creation of platform firmware images, allowing quick platform deployment based on Intel reference designs.

"Customers build and configure firmware using a catalog of validated binary components. It helps customers easily and quickly initialise boot devices and launch various operating systems," Greene added.

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