The Intel Galileo is an innovative new microcontroller based on the Intel® Quark SoC X1000 Application Processor, a 32-bit Intel Pentium-class system on a chip (datasheet). This gives the board some insane processing speeds in comparison to others. It’s the first board based on Intel® architecture designed to be
hardware and software pin-compatible with Arduino shields designed for
the Uno Rev 3. Digital pins 0 to 13 (and the adjacent AREF and GND pins),
Analog inputs 0 to 5, the power header, ICSP header, and the UART port
pins (0 and 1), are all in the same locations as on the Arduino Uno R3. This board is for those who are already familiar with the Arduino format and writing sketches in Arduino IDE.
Galileo is designed to support Arduino shields that operate at either 3.3V or
5V-- the shields can stack directly on top of the Galileo, given the pin-compatibility. 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
provides support for 5V Uno shields and is the default behavior. By
switching the jumper position, the voltage translation can be disabled
to provide 3.3V operation at the I/O pins.
Of course, the Galileo board is also software compatible with the
Arduino Software Development Environment (IDE), which makes usability
and introduction for Arduino aficionados a snap.
In addition to Arduino hardware and software compatibility, the Galileo
board has several PC industry standard I/O ports and features to expand
native usage and capabilities beyond the Arduino shield ecosystem. A
full sized mini-PCI Express slot (which allows laptop peripherals such as WiFi cards), 100Mb Ethernet port (for easy, direct connection to the Internet), MicroSD slot,
RS-232 serial port, USB Host port, USB Client port, and 8MByte NOR flash
come standard on the board.The Galileo runs Linux straight out of the box, and has the ability (unlike others) to multitask while operating an Arduino sketch-- this opens up a world of new opportunities for your projects. It's recommended that you also purchase a MicroSD card (up to 32gb) for the board, which adds greater Linux capability. Also, you must use the provided 5V power source as the Galileo cannot be powered by USB connection.
Clearly, the Intel team was inspired by the board's namesake-- Galileo is equipped to give Makers a new tool to allow them to create, innovate, and dream in an astronomically large way.
Visit the FAQ page for further information.