Embedded.com Weekly Newsletter: Jan. 25-28, 2010 - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Weekly Newsletter: Jan. 25-28, 2010




The Embedded Newsletter is delivered to youfree of charge from the staff of Embedded.com. To view the Embedded.com site , visit: http://www.embedded.com
TV cable news, online news outlets and even National PublicRadio are abuzz with the upcoming announcement by Steve Jobs of Apple'snew tablet computer platform. Everything we know so far about theengineering details can be found in “What'sinside Apple's media pad ” – Part 1 and Part 2 and Displays shine alight on Apple's Tablet .”

According to Bottle Rocket Apps Calvin Carter in Effectivesmartphone accessory design ,” Apple's continued success isforcing designers to rethink their underlying assumptions about whatgoes into an effective and compelling product design.

But there is a lot more going on in the embedded design universethan Job's new toy, all of which could be much more far-reaching, such as U.S. DoE funding for energy efficient chipdesign, a new classof RF-heated solder material codeveloped by Intel and CarnegieMellen, the move toestablish a new smartcard standard , and IMEC's siliconchip-based optical RAM. In addition, there is a lot of ISSC 2010 news onanalog design, topology and device performance .

Because an increasing number of embedded systems designs, especiallyconsumer, include a bewildering mix of proprietary and open sourcesoftware, you should read one of my Editor'sTop Picks :A nuts and boldsengineering approach to open source IP .” My other favoritethis week is onUsingSerDes in fourth generation wireless infrastructure .”

Electrostatic discharge will continue to be a problem in embeddeddesigns, consumer included, as circuit geometries and voltages getsmaller, so I've included a report on an ad hoc group forging new guidelines for ESDprotection as well as a new design article on “System level transientvoltage protection – five in depth answers to ESD questions.”Good reading! (Embedded.com EditorBernard Cole, bccole@acm.org )

Smart card firms team to establish open standard
European smartcard makers Giesecke & Devrient GmbH and Oberthur Technologies S.A. and chip providers Infineon Technologies AG and Inside Contactless S.A. have launched an industry initiative to advance open and secure public transport smartcard applications.
DirecTV adopts MoCA for home networking
DirecTV will use home networking chips from Entropic Communications Inc. in a deal that adds support from a major satellite TV player for the technology of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance which to date has mainly been used in set-top boxes for Verizon's Fios IPTV service.
Optical RAM on chip, set to reduce telecoms power
Researchers from IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) and the department of information technology at Ghent University (INTEC) have published a paper on an optical random access memory integrated on a silicon chip with record low power consumption.
ISSCC 2010 goes beyond just “more and better digital”
There's lots of interesting analog design, topology, and performance at big solid-state event
DoE funds energy-efficient chip effort
The U.S. Department of Energy is funneling Recovery Act stimulus funds into research to make computer chips more efficient by designing voltage regulators that fit on-chip.
First JEDEC-compatible memory buffer creates a new class of load-reduced DIMMs
The first JEDEC-compatible memory buffer from Inphi Corporation creates a new class of load-reduced DIMMs, enabling servers and workstations to operate at higher speeds and support more memory modules.
Intel, Carnegie Mellon develop RF-heated solder
Carnegie Mellon University and Intel Corp. have said they will unveil a new class of materials called solder magnetic nanocomposites that, because they can be RF-heated, could improve electronics packaging.
  BREAK POINT by Jack Ganssle
Software License Agreements
EULAs: Read 'em and weep. They are completely one-sided.
  UNDER THE HOOD: Teardowns
What's inside Apple's media pad?
A combination Apple media pad/e-book/netbook could steal much of the thunder in early 2010. So what's inside the system?
Part 2: What's inside Apple's media pad?
More details have surfaced about Apple Inc.'s media pad, dubbed the iSlate.
Effective smartphone accessory design
Smartphones and MP3 players open up infinite applications and associated opportunities for designers of accessories. The challenges are complex, but through adherence to some basic guidelines, an accessory product can be a game changer for your company.
Displays shine a light on Apple tablet
Speculation is running high the day before Apple Inc. is expected to roll out a tablet computer some say could help launch a new category, but it's unclear if the key component needed to drive the category forward—a high-resolution, low-power color display—is ready for prime time.
  EDITOR'S TOP PICKS by Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
A nuts and bolts engineering approach to using open source IP
Mindtree's Girish Managoli provides some practical advice about preparing the documentation on products based on open source IP, before handing it over to management and the legal department.
Using SerDes in Fourth Generation Wireless Infrastructure
As the network equipment infrastructure is built up for 4G there will be an demand for high serial data rates between the main control radio equipment and that in distributed base stations. Here is how to meet the high serial data rate by only ugrading the Serdes through the use of a discrete solution
DESIGN FOCUS: Dealing with ESD & EMI
ESD group seeks more OEM support
An ad hoc group that is forging guidelines for electrostatic discharge (ESD) specifications for ICs is hammering out a new campaign and white paper that hopes to get more of the systems-level community on board.
System level transient voltage protection–Five in-depth answers to ESD questions
The challenge of protecting today's systems from transient threats is more complex than ever before. Here are answers to important questions that can ensure that a system is adequately safeguarded against these damaging electrical transient threats.
Embedding multicore PCs for Robotics & Industrial Control
By combining an RTOS and the Windows OS on separate processors in a multicore-based PC platform, builders of robotics, industrial and machine control systems can achieve real time performance while at the same time lowering costs by reducing the number of computers in the system
  EDITOR'S NOTE: Continuing Your Education
ESC Silicon Valley is increasingly the place to get hands-on training. In the past, we told you how to develop your system, then you went back to your lab to make it work. Now, we're bringing that lab to you, giving you the hardware and software you need to design, develop, and debug your system. Find out more here. Note: Early-bird registration expires February 19th.

Finally, as the deployments of 3G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks accelerate, engineers have their hands full developing and testing handsets to meet the extreme performance requirements these networks demand. Our online course, the Fundamentals of LTE Physical Layer and Test Requirements will take you through the LTE standard and show you how to set up to test user equipment using the latest test systems and techniques.

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