Embedded.com Weekly Newsletter: March 18, 2010 - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Weekly Newsletter: March 18, 2010



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This week, market research firm IC Insights boosted its estimate for ICgrowth, expecting a 27% increase in 2010. This optimisticview seems to be widely shared – if the continuing stream of productintroductions is any indication.

For example, ARM has added a smart card core based onthe Cortex-M0, Netronome shipped its X-86 compatible networkflow processor, 6Wind upgraded its multicore tools for Intel's new Xeon CPU,GE rollls out Xeon SBC with 12 cores,dSPACE and Elektrobit haveintegrated their Autosar tools,PLS has launched ahigh end multicoretrace debugging tool , and Digi has a foolproof” programmable Zigbee module . (Despite the focus this week onhigh-end 32-bit multicore CPUs, in a guestcolumn on the future of 8-bit MCUs SteveDrehobl is skeptical about projections that 32-bit devices willobsolete 8-bitters. )

However, there is growing concern in the embedded design communityabout improving software quality. This concern was reflected in theoverwhelming response on-line last week to The Non-QualityRevolution and Gettingdisciplined about software development by Jack Ganssle.

To feed this continuing interest, I am planning an on-going seriesof articles of software quality and software project management. Thisweek it's a three part series on how formalspecifications and informal requirements planning improves softwarequality . Other design topics include: memorymanagement for LTC and WiMax designs , the role of IEEE 1394A in digital camerasand power delivery networkdesign . Good reading! (Embedded.comEditor Bernard Cole, bccole@acm.org )

ARM adds smart card core based on Cortex-M0
ARM is expanding its product line for the smart card sector by releasing a core based on the Cortex-M0. The 32-bit SCOOO is targeting the sector traditionally held by 8- and 16-bit devices.
6WIND boosts packet-processing on Intel's new Xeon 7-10X
6WINDGate software tools maximize performance on Intel Xeon EC5549 and E5645 multicore processors
Netronome ships its X86-compatible multicore network flow engine
Netronome is now shipping its NFP-3240 network flow processor, a follow-on to Intel's IXP28XX line of network processors, specifically designed for tight coupling with general purpose X-86-based multicore Intel processors to accelerate network, security and content performance up to 40 and 100 Gbps.
IC Insights boosts 2010 chip growth forecast to 27%
Market research firm IC Insights increased its estimate for 2010 semiconductor growth, saying it now expects chip revenue to increase 27 percent this year, reaching $253 billion.
Looking ahead to designing with ARM
ARM Virtual conference boasts a bevy of new products.
  BREAK POINT by Jack Ganssle
Salary Survey
Jack's 2009 salary survey is now out, and the data is interesting.

  GUEST EDITORIAL by Steve Drehobl
The 8-bit MCUs won't be going away anytime soon
Despite claims that the 8-bit MCU will soon be obsolete by 32-bit devices, that may not exactly be the case.
  EDITOR'S TOP PICK by Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
Building better memory management for high performance wired/wireless networks
The authors describe a variable pool memory management scheme that has been implemented for LTE and WiMAX protocol stacks and has exhibited excellent performance, especially when compared to traditional fixed-pool implementations.
  DESIGN FOCUS: Software Project Management
Picking the right system design methodology for your embedded apps
In this three part tutorial, Wayne Wolf discusses why today's complex embedded designs require developers use a formal specification or informal requirements system design methodology as well as the features that are important to have in such tools.
  DESIGN ARTICLES: Week of March 15-19
Power delivery network design requires chip-package-system co-design approach
Power Delivery Network (PDN) has traditionally been a disjointed design problem with chip, package and board engineers doing their part of the design with margins assumed for the other parts. As 45nm designs become more common and the first set of 32/28nm tape-outs start to happen, certain trends are becoming quite clear.
1394 cameras: Simple designs with high bandwidth, low latency, scalability
The author, vice chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, argues that 1394 Automotive Camera Systems provide features and functions required for automotive applications while maintaining competitive price performance.
How to ensure you are developing a world-class capacitive touch product
Understand the key specifications and parameters which are key an effective and reliable capacitive touch screen interface
  TOP PRODUCT PICKS by Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
GE's Xeon-based SBC features 12 cores
Enhanced A10200 Single Board Computer incorporates Intel's latest Xeon 5600 to drive up performace 50 percent and lower power
UAD3+ tests and debugs complex SoCs
The Universal Access Device 3+ (UAD3+) from pls (Programmierbare Logik & Systeme) is a hardware tool for high-end trace, multi-core and multi-target debugging, profiling, and calibration targeted for users of complex 16-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers (e.g. ARM7/9/11, Cortex-M3/R4/A8, PowerArchitecture, TriCore, XC2000/XE166 and SH-2A).
Digi launches industry's first 'foolproof' programmable ZigBee module
Digi launches industry's first 'foolproof' programmable ZigBee module with isolated software that speeds ZigBee development.
dSPACE and EB integrate tools to create AUTOSAR dev environment
dSPACE and Elektrobit have integrated tools to give developers of automotive electronic control unit (ECU) software a coordinated AUTOSAR modeling and simulation environment.
ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 JumpStart Kit speeds wireless multimedia dev
Digi International's ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 Digi JumpStart Kit includes the ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 core module, the industry's first core module designed specifically for low power, wireless multimedia applications, as well as development board, Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3 board support package, and a 7-inch WVGA LCD.
  EDITOR'S NOTE from Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
ESC 2010 is just around the corner (April 26-29) and EETimes has prepped a series of special panels dealing with critical issues and opportunities facing our industry. In “The Rx for medical electronics”, Rich Merritt will lead a group that will explore the challenges facing a field that is still making the historic transition to the digital, networked era, while in “Turning on the smart grid”, George Leopold and his panel of experts will give the outlook on the challenges and opportunities ahead for smart grid. For more info, see the full roster here.

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