What's New on Embedded.com (10-6-11) - Embedded.com

What’s New on Embedded.com (10-6-11)


Embedded Newsletter for 10-06-11

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October 6, 2011

New on Embedded.com


Kushagra Khorwal, Naveen Kumar, Rahul Kuma, Freescale India

An efficient pad ring design to circumvent test probe limitations and meet requirements

Michael Yu, Nexlogic Technologies

Taking on the 0.3 mm ultra-fine pitch device challenge in PCB design


From light bulbs to computers

Estimation interruptus

The perils and joys of Android development

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

With Gartner expecting IC capital expenditures to decline 20% in 2012, and companies such as Freescale lowering 3Q sales estimates , it might be useful to pay close attention to the strategies that microprocessor and microcontroller suppliers are adopting in the face of a souring economy.

In “A three-horn dilemma with a three prong solution, ” Yasushi Akao, president of Renesas, says the plan is to “become a much slimmer company by 2012,” with a continued focus on its MCU business. In “Microchip's strategy in a weak economy,” Ganesh Moorthy, the MCU vendor's COO, outlines what the company is doing – primarily to not panic (per Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy? ) and “focus on the things we can control .”

Moorthy's strategy seems to be the preferred one in the embedded market, with Freescale introducing an ultalow power smart radio , Unity rolling out a terabit memory architecture , MIPS and eSilicon taping out a 28 nm MPU cluster SoC, and startup Memoir offering memory IP core for network and multicore processors.

At Apple, though, the attitude seems to be “Downturn? What downturn?” as it rolls out its newest smartphone, the iPhone 4S. For some perspective on this introduction, be sure to read “Apple iPhone 4S: Beginning of the end?” in which Rick Merritt speculates on whether the growing dominance of the open source Android smartphone platform is a sign that Steve Job's company has finally run out of luck.

For a reminder about where all this came from, be sure to read “From light bulbs to computers ,” the second part in Jack Ganssle's series of columns celebrating the 40th anniversary of the microprocessor.

Design How Tos

An efficient pad ring design to circumvent test probe limitations and meet requirements

In this article the authors address the problems faced in the testing of advanced SoCs. They describe some pad ring design techniques developers can use to allow die probe testers to operate in parallel fashion but without wasting die size.

Taking on the 0.3 mm ultra-fine pitch device challenge in PCB design

To deal with the printed circuit board design challenges of nextgen nanometer circuits and the demanding packaging constraints of small footprint mobile & embedded apps, Nexlogic's Michael Yu thinks the answer boils down to carefully crafted PCB design, fabrication, and assembly guidelines.

Minimizing yield fallout by avoiding over and under at-speed testing

In this article the authors discuss the problems associated with SoC at-speed testing such as over-testing and under-testing, which affect yield, and provide suggestions on how to overcome them.

Validating your GNU platform toolchain: tips and techniques

Open-source tools for your open-source Android/Linux platform.

Understanding Android's strengths and weaknesses

Here are techniques for exploiting Android's strengths and managing its limitations, especially in hard real-time, mission-critical systems.

The importance of sustainability in design engineering

Carbon, energy, water, and waste data embedded during the design phase has more to it than simply good environmental stewardship. Design engineers can use global standards and trends in sustainability to get electronics projects off the ground, and drive accelerated development.

Reducing Turnaround Time with Hierarchical Timing Analysis

STA is a key task during chip design that directly impacts design cycle time. Hierarchical techniques are used to break down design complexity into manageable units…

Multi-gigabit data link aggregation for next-generation systems

Understand the virtues and necessity of aggregated links in leading-edge systems, and some implementation tradeoffs.

10GBase-T Technology Revisited

This article will explore the basic operation of a 10GBase-T transceiver and the inherent advantages of 10GBase-T technology as compared to alternatives, such as optical fiber and coaxial copper.

Advantages of SONOS memory for embedded flash technology

This article makes the case for the use of 65nm SONOS technology for embedded flash applications.

How femtocells will solve data capacity

Data traffic is overwhelming mobile operator's networks reports Steven Brightfield of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. Projections from major operators confirm this trend, with recent reports ranging from data capacity doubling every 3 months (KT/Korea) to 12 months (Vodafone).

Hunting noise sources in wireless embedded systems

In an embedded system design, especially one bringing together high-speed RF and serial or parallel components, noise can come from almost anywhere. Without clues as to the sources of noise, debugging can be time consuming and tedious. With a mixed domain oscilloscope (MDO) however, engineers can see noise sources like spectrum splatter during turn-on, drain voltage power supply coupling, or other cross-coupled emission events and correlate these events to specific logic states or analog circuit conditions. This article discusses techniques for finding unintentional noise sources as well as using automatic markers to look for emissions (harmonic related or other).

Call for Abstracts, ESC Silicon Valley

Click here for Call for Abstracts.

Calling all embedded systems engineers! Teach other engineers about embedded systems design techniques at the Embedded Systems Conference, Silicon Valley 2012. Click here to see the ESC SV 2012 tracks . September 30th is the submission deadline.

Product News

OCTEON Fusion SoCs enable macro base station features for small cell base stations

The OCTEON Fusion Family from Cavium, Inc., is a small cell “Base Station-on-a-chip” family specifically designed for LTE & 3G small cell base stations, including picocell and micro base stations.

WinSystems' EBX Atom SBC provides high-performance for embedded apps

The EBC-C384 from WinSystems is an EBX-compatible, Intel Atom-based single board computer (SBC) that comes with either the Intel Atom single core 1.66GHz N455 or dual core 1.80GHz D525 processor.

Microsemi houses SmartFusion cSoCs in miniature package

Microsemi's SmartFusion cSoC family is now available in a “CS288” 288-ball chip scale package package to cater to the growing miniaturization needs of embedded systems.

Semitech debuts multi-standard OFDM narrowband PLC chip for smart grid apps

The SM2400 device from Semitech Semiconductor is a multi-standard OFDM-based power line communication (PLC) transceiver designed with the flexibility to operate in a wide range of noise prone smart grid environments.

Maxim reference platform speeds design of next-gen smart meters

The Newport smart meter reference platform from Maxim Integrated Products is designed to provide utility companies a versatile way to evaluate smart grid technology and manufacturers an easy-to-use smart-meter design to accelerate time to market.

Microchip launches an app store and social community for downloading and rating free PIC MCU code

The Embedded Code Source (http://www.microchip.com/get/R0BA), hosted by Microchip Technology Inc., is an application store for the embedded community that provides free software and firmware for PIC microcontrollers, along with the ability to rate and review each download.

Thirtyseven4 launches security suite for Android devices

Thirtyseven4 Mobile Security for Android (TS4Android) from Thirtyseven4, LLC, is a complete security solution to protect Android smartphones and tablets against all types of malware.

Jamcast enables on-demand digital audio streaming to Android devices

Jamcast Player from Software Development Solutions, Inc., is a streaming client app exclusively for Android devices. Using Jamcast Server and an existing home internet connection, consumers can establish a secure private cloud from which all of their digital music is shared.

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