The Embedded System Conference (ESC) in San Francisco will bring a few surprises. But the real news will be the number of real products based on emerging technology, such as switch-fabric backplanes, Serial ATA, refinements on technologies like the Universal Serial Bus (USB), and development tools.
If it's coming to market this year, you have a good chance of finding it at the ESC, judging by the wide range of hardware and software on tap at the show. For instance, debugging gets a leg up with American Arium's support for Texas Instruments' OMAP processors and Intel's IXP42x XScale series. They will also show Linux source-level kernel debugging.
Many of the software announcements are improvements of existing products. QNX's new version of its development environment for the QNX Neutrino real-time operating system (RTOS), Momentics 6.2, is based on the open-source Eclipse project. It now uses Eclipse 2.0 support and includes new utilities, like the System Profiler and a new GUI for the RTOS configuration and management interface. Monta Vista will debut its latest Monta Vista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 3.0 and the Consumer Electronics Edition 3.0. The consumer version targets network connected devices and can work with Java and Qt/Embedded graphics. Green Hills Software adds IPv6 support to its royalty-free Integrity RTOS. Coming in two versions, IPNET and IPLITE from Interpeak AB also provide IPv4 support. This type of dual stack is becoming more popular with embedded developers preparing for the migration to IPv6. And, Lynuxworks will show off its LynxOS and BlueCat Linux. The latest addition is LynxOS-178, a DO-178B certifiable RTOS targeted at safety-critical systems.
GATEWAY TO HEAVEN
Home gateways and other network edge devices are hot. Competition looks intense with a number of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) specifically designed for this market. Ubicom's new IP3023 Internet Edge Processor brings hyperthreading to a new level. It provides an incredibly powerful platform with its complement of high-speed interfaces. Giving Ubicom a run for its money is Intel's new line of XScale processors. The IXP42x uses a 32-bit XScale core with one or two Ethernet media-access controls (MACs). Encryption acceleration is optional. IDT's RC32365 Interprise Access Processor incorporates a security engine optimized to accelerate IPsec (Fig. 1). This suits it for SOHO VPN (virtual private network) gateways. Support is included for AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and 3DES (Triple Data Encryption Standard). Of course, it has a pair of Ethernet MACs.
MICROS MAKE IT
Not all new MCUs unveiled at the ESC are going into home gateways. They're showing up across the spectrum. Philips Semiconductor's PLP2106 ARM7TDMI-based 32-bit MCU will include up to 256 kbytes of 0.18-µm embedded flash and up to 64 kbytes of SRAM. The flash memory is 128 bits wide, allowing the processor to read four 32-bit words in a single cycle. Oki Semiconductor would like its ARM7-TDMI line of MCUs, the ML67400x, to be as successful as the 8-bit 8051, but in a 16/32-bit package at 8-bit prices. Microchip's PIC18F series of nanowatt technology PIC flash MCUs includes two-speed startup and low-power watchdog and wakeup timers. Among the new software by WindTools for Hyperstone's E1-16XS and E1-32XS RISC/DSP processors is a Windows-based debugger that works with the company's processor simulator. Tensilica also will show off new software. The company ported the complete toolset for its configurable Xtensa system-on-a-chip architecture onto Linux.
Even after the recent Advanced TCA (Telecom Computing Architecture) products, hardware is still strongly represented at ESC. On the VME side, Thales Computers will show a dual PowerPC 750FX processor, convection-cooled PowerEngine7
SBC (single board computer) (Fig. 2). Pentek will highlight its GateFlow IP Core libraries, which are used in conjunction with Xilinx's Virtex Series FPGAs. This architecture offloads computationally intensive operations from the processor. The Virtex chips can be found on many Pentek boards, including the Model 4205 VIM/PMC Carrier Board. And, MEN Micro's D4 CompactPCI SBC sports a Pentium 4, up to 1 Gbyte of DDRAM, a DVI-I graphics interface, and gigabit Ethernet support. The latter is compatible with the PIGMG 2.16 specification.
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Embedded System Conference
Green Hills Software