The 2011 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose is just around the corner. I will be there along with other Electronic Design editors to bring you the latest embedded technology. Check out our ESC 2011 coverage here as well as on Engineering Radio and Engineering TV.
As usual, most of the new announcements will be on Tuesday next week so we can't let you know what they are quite yet. We had a couple that will be available on our Monday Engineering Radio episode with our ER ESC Preview. Check out the Microchip news there. The full video interview will be on Engineering TV.
In the meantime, there are some trends that will be highlighted at ESC. A major one is the movement of hard Arm cores into FGPAs. The Cortex-M1 soft core remains popular but platforms like Xilinx's Zynq (see FPGA Packs In Dual Cortex-A9 Micro) and Microsemi's SmartFusion (see FPGA Combines Hard-Core Cortex-M3 And Analog Peripherals). Altera has promised an FPGA with a hard ARM core and has delivered a combination with Intel. The Intel E600C (see Configurable Platform Blends FPGA With Atom) includes an Altera FPGA with an Intel Atom core. The big thing at ESC will be the development kits and reference designs based on these chips.
There will be more PCI Express-based boards including stackables and COM modules. Emerson Network Power will be one of many showing off OpenVPX-based platforms (see OpenVPX Simplifies Rugged Design Tasks). The OpenVPX single board computers (SBC) will be sporting Intel Core processors. The Emerson Network Power 6U iVPX7220 and 3U iVPX7223 feature dual-core 2.20 GHz Intel Core i7 2655LE chips. The boards have a UEFI BIOS. Look for UEFI to be ubiquitous in a couple years.
Of course, long term support of existing standards continues to be important. Advanced Digital Logic's ADLD25PC (Fig. 1) sports a bottom-stacking PCI/104 Express connection with 4 x1 lanes as well as a PCI/104 connection on top. The SBC has a dual core, 1.8 GHz Intel Atom D525 processor with access to 4Gbytes of DDR3-800 DRAM. It has two SATA, a Gigabit Ethernet Port, four COM ports, eight USB2.0 ports and VGA and LVDS ports. There is an optional PCIe Mini socket and 7.1 HD Audio plus a 16-bit GPIO port.
If you get to the show early enough you might be able to pick up a STM32L-Discovery kits. STmicroelectronics will be giving away 1500 of the kits based on the ultra-low-power, Cortex-M3-based STM32L microcontroller for EnergyLite applications.
Datakey Electronics will be showing off their new RUGGEDrive (Fig. 2) line of portable memory products. They work with splash-proof panel-mount receptacles. The drives are designed for more than 50,000 insertion cycles. They are available in 4 Gbyte to 32 Gbyte versions.
See you at ESC.