Freescale initiative supports board designers
February 29, 2012 // Colin Holland
Freescale Semiconductor is to increasingly work with its ecosystem of board vendors to broaden availability of its processors based on Power Architecture and ARM technologies in standardized, off-the-shelf single board computing (SBC) and system-on-module (SOM) form factors.
Meera Balakrishnan, global segment marketing manger, who is leading the initiative said, "There has been a change challenges as now only 25 percent of engineering resources are hardware, with the remaining doing software and system engineering and there are also increasing complexities of processors with advances such as multicore and higher-speed I/O of 2.5 GHz to 10 GHz. There is also a need to get a more robust product portfolio in the market faster."
The aim is to align the availability of silicon and boards, at present there tends to be a lag between the shipping of silicon and the introduction of commercial boards.
The program’s engineering support and joint marketing efforts are intended to dramatically boost the number of Freescale-based, production-ready systems available from board vendors.
This initiative is expected to enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) to focus on differentiating IP instead of lower-level printed circuit board (PCB) hardware and board support package (BSP) software development tasks.
The program is intended to provide board bring-up services, as well as early access to documentation, BSPs and silicon.
The 2011 global market for embedded computer boards was more than $3 billion according to IMS Research and is forecast to grow at an average rate of six percent through 2016.
Two board vendors taking advantage of the initiative at Embedded World were Mercury Computer who introduced an OpenVPX system incorporating two QorIQ AMP series T4240 processors, and Kontron which plans to have a computer-on-module based on Freescale’s i.MX 6 Series technology later this year.
Steve Patterson, vice president of Product Management for Mercury, said "Freescale has helped us begin creating complex products earlier than ever before."
"Kontron is pleased to extend our strategic relationship with Freescale," added Dirk Finstel, chief technology officer for Kontron. "Freescale’s embedded board solutions initiative strongly supports Kontron’s aggressive growth plan of providing application-ready platforms, engaging new customer applications and creating new devices. The program allows Kontron to create scalable products on both ARM- and Power Architecture-based products to better address growing application demands such as long-term availability and extended temperature ranges."
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