Archive for November, 2006

In Am I Alone?, I was bemoaning the lack of blogs in the embedded space. Recently, I decided to search some more. Sadly, doing “embedded development blog” still returns few relevant results. Most of the results are related to Microsoft’s embedded development effort.

However, there are signs that things are improving! Here are a few blogs related to the embedded space.

WindRiver Blog Network – It provides interesting articles about their take on life. The entries I have seen are more marketing oriented than technical, but that’s ok! The more activity in the embedded space, the better! I am convinced the credit for WindRiver’s entry into the blogosphere goes entirely to Roy Osherove! I’m certain his blog entry prompted them to do something :-) Disclaimer: I was an employee of WRS a few years back, and do hold the company in high regards. They always did right by me.

EDN Blogs – The blogs of various EDN staffers about many topics close to the embedded designer’s heart. Robert Cravotta blogs about embedded processors, Warren Webb talks tools (a favourite of mine) among other things. Brian Dipert coverts technology in general and makes for an interesting read.

Developers.Net – Looks like an abandonned blog (I’m not casting stones! Look at me, a few pitiful entries in the last month!), but appears to have interesting content.

While not a blog, Jack Ganssle (a god, or at least a very tall figure in the embedded world) has a biweekly newsletter you can subscribe to. A visit to his site is a must. It has tons of great articles. It is a must be read if you are serious about embedded development.

The October 2006 issue of Embedded System Design magazine has the result of their annual processor survey.  It is full of interesting highlights:

  • 4-bit processors are still used!
  • 8-bit and 16-bit processors have about the same share of designs
  • 32-bit processors are used in the majority of designs!
  • 64-bit processors are used in 6% of designs (good grief!)
  • Most processors run at less than 100Mhz

The most quoted reason for selecting a specific CPU? The software development tools available.  Note to processor makers: Don’t supply non-standard C compilers!

Who rules the embedded processor market?  It depends on your slice of it!  The 8-bit undisputed champion is Microchip, with over 70% of respondant using it! Next are Atmel, Freescale and Intel.  Note that since Intel has announced they will discontinue the 8051 line, I would bet their new design wins will be scarcer than hen’s teeth, but since the 805x line has so many vendors, the processor will be around for a good long time.

For 16-bit designs, Freescale rules at 50%, but the x86 architecture is giving them a run for their money! The 32-bit arena has essentially seen a consolidation of architectures.  ARM wins in aggregate, followed closely by the PowerPC architecture. The x86 achitecture is still a viable choice.  MIPS (once a hot architecture when I was involved with emulators) has all but dissapeared.

Of course, none of this is a surprise if you have been reading Embedded System Design. You are aren’t you?