Dev boards based on microcontrollers and ARM System on Chips are everywhere, but smaller boards with x86 processor has been rare. I just saw The Intel-powered Arduino article that tells about Arduino-compatible Intel Galileo board. Galileo is a microcontroller board based on the Intel® Quark SoC X1000 Application Processor, a 32-bit Intel Pentium-class system on a chip. Say whaaaaaaaattt? x86 powered Arduino!
Intel Galileo has everything you’d expect from a juiced-up Arduino running x86: The main chip is an Intel Quark SoC running at 400MHz with 256 MB of DRAM. On board is a Mini-PCIe slot, 100Mb Ethernet port, Micro SD slot, RS-232, and USB host and client ports. For more details check FAQ and datasheet.
Galileo is designed to support shields that operate at either 3.3V or 5V. The core operating voltage of Galileo is 3.3V. However, a jumper on the board enables voltage translation to 5V at the I/O pins (this support for 5V Uno shields and is the default behavior). Galileo board is also software compatible with the Arduino Software Development Environment (IDE).
According to The Intel-powered Arduino article it looks like this board is running Yocto, a stripped down Linux for embedded environments. So here is a board with about the same processing power as a Raspberry Pi, but with Arduino compatibility, and a Mini PCIe port.
The comments at The Intel-powered Arduino points out some limitations: “The GPIO output pins on Intel® Galileo are provided by an I2C Port Expander that is running at standard mode (100 kHz). Each I2C request to update a GPIO requires approximately 2ms. In addition to software overhead, this restricts the frequency achievable on the GPIO outputs to approximately 230 Hz.” This looks like a serious limitations to some applications where Arduino traditionally has been strong: fast I/O pin manipulation.
Other comment: Intel wants to eradicate other ARchitecture Manufacturers, be aware of that. The market for Arduiono, ARMbased something is flurishing & prosperous, every competitor overpowers the other with interesting things, and Intel just jumps in hoping the X86-compatible will eliminate the ARMs.