Samsung is getting serious about Internet of Things (IoT). Following up on its 2014 purchase of startup SmartThings, Samsung has just unveiled a set of modules called ARTIK, which it hopes companies will adopt in order to build IoT into their products.
SmartThings is an app-controlled remote control for a smart home.
Three tiny circuit boards make up the ARTIK collection. They're about the "size of a ladybug," says Don Clark, writing about the technology in the Wall Street Journal. The smallest is 12 millimeters on each side.
Samsung says its tiered architecture is a small-footprint, production-ready IoT platform geared towards developers.
ARTIK 1 is the smallest of the devices. Samsung says the Bluetooth-equipped dual-core board, good for devices like smartwatches, can go three weeks without a recharge.
It features a built-in 9-axis motion sensor, and is aimed at power-sensitive devices that need to stay up over time.
ARTIK 5, the mid-range module, is more powerful and offers connectivity via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, low-power Bluetooth, and ZigBee. It's aimed at smart home-hubs and applications that need streaming video. Video includes mid-range H.263/H264/MPEG level video at 720p.
And ARTIK 10 is the most powerful, with 32 GBs of data and included 1080p video codecs running at 120 frames-per-second. It could be good for media hubs or servers.
The smallest board will sell for less than $10, said Young Sohn, Samsung's president and chief strategy officer, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The largest board, "about the size of two postage stamps side-by-side," will sell for less than $100, Sohn said in the same article.
The promotional materials try to make the point that these are the kinds of chips found in Samsung's latest phones. In fact, only the ARTIK 10 would be realistically comparable. But, in other words, if you want that kind of performance for your IoT project, go with ARTIK, it implies.
Another major point that it tries to make is that ARTIK is secure—a taste of things to come, doom-mongers predict in IoT.
Samsung says that a device's value in the future will be based on "how well and how securely" it can connect to existing devices and data. It says ARTIK will do that.
The open API appears to be an important part of the platform. Part of the thinking behind Samsung's IoT strategy is clearly that it wants manufacturers to be able to just grab Samsung parts and insert them into any IoT project—a kind of turn-key solution.
"Our goals in building ARTIK were to minimize fragmentation and enable faster adoption of IoT," the company said in a blog post.
Consequently, it's putting the chips onto a board, calling it a module, and shipping it with a Temboo library for creating the code.
Temboo is a software stack specifically for connecting IoT hardware to the Internet, and for programming.
The idea is that developers should be able to simply jump in without getting overwhelmed as to where to start, or to have to write code from scratch.
Notably, Arduino has certified ARTIK as Arduino Certified.
"You won't have to be a professional developer to build with ARTIK; all you need is an idea," the blog post says.
Arduino is a major 'maker' open-source electronics platform with a large user community that trades electronics design ideas and works with kits.
Alpha development kit
Samsung has opened its Alpha developer kit application process, so if you're developing an IoT project, you might be able to get yourself access to some hardware and technical support.
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