Tasking, the embedded software development arm of the Altium group is developing an RTOS in-house to expand its product portfolio. The company has traditionally supplied an RTOS from third parties but in line with the group's intention to provide a fully integrated product range, it is nearing completion of its own real-time operating system.
The work has been carried out at Tasking's development centre at Amrsfoord in the Netherlands over the last year and is in an alpha testing stage in both Europe and Australia, where Altium is headquartered.
Stephan Paternotte, the product marketing manager at Tasking, says that the company had identified the RTOS as becoming an increasingly important part of the design process.
The development of the in-house RTOS is seen as being inline with the strategic direction of the whole Altium group to bridge the gap between hardware and software design.
Paternotte said that it was becoming increasingly important that the company owns its own intellectual property for the products its sells.
The initial product will target lower end microcontrollers including the 8051, Texas Instrument's TMS and Microchip PICs but the plan is to expand it in time to address other 16 as well as 32bit products.
The on-going development also includes work with both OSEK compliant and POSIX RTOS.
The RTOS will be used with an FPGA design system to enable engineers to develop system-on-chip designs. According to Paternotte the development is not targeting any particular market but is expected to be most useful for small and medium sized volume products including the industrial and medical sectors.
Altium already has an FPGA design software product – the Peak FPGA Design Suite – provided by its Accolade division.
The existing Tasking product range includes an integrated development environment, compiler, debugger, embedded Internet and RTOS products which support a range of DSPs and 8-, 16- and 32bit microprocessors and microcontrollers with over 100,000 licensed users of Tasking products.
The company recently cut the price of its 8051 software development toolsets from US$1,790 to US$795. “By re-pricing our 8051 toolsets so significantly, we are lowering the entry point for 8051 embedded developers by providing them with a fully functional, professional embedded software development toolset for under US$800,” says Bruce Edwards, executive director at Altium.
Altium is also working to implement the Design Explorer platform to provide a consistent design environment across all its product brands. The company says this will provide high levels of tool integration as well as smooth transition between the different phases of design, facilitating ease of use and eliminating the need to learn a new environment when adding new design tools.
Published in Embedded Systems (Europe) May 2002