Friday, September 29, 2006

Embedded Systems Bulletin – September 2006

VDC attended the 2006 Embedded Systems Conference in Boston this week. This bulletin presents a summary of the event.

Embedded Systems Conference – Boston 2006

With several of the leading embedded software vendors again taking a pass on exhibiting, this year’s ESC Boston show played out as most anticipated. The Boston show in some ways has established itself as the lesser of the two annual ESC events; however, most attendees and exhibitors seemed satisfied to get about what they expected out of the week. There was a mixed reaction from most vendors on traffic, but more exhibitors than not commented that the quality of the leads from the show exceeded previous years, as well as in some cases, the ESC/San Jose conference held earlier this year.


Best of Show

Telelogic/I-Logix – The makers of Rhapsody have done it again with the release of 7.0. The latest version of the company’s model driven development environment is a testament to the company’s relentless determination to improve their product and drive innovation in the tools market. One of the most interesting new features is a new integration with the The MathWorks’ widely popular Simulink tool suite. Developers can now import Simulink modeling blocks into the Rhapsody environment, enabling them to accomplish tasks previously requiring manual interfaces between the two. With a number of other improvements such as features that allow developers to work in a more “code centric” environment and new add-ons enabling enhanced mechanisms for code reuse, the company continues to establish itself as a clear market leader in embedded model driven development. For more information visit:

Best Demo

It’s about time a vendor had an exciting demo that entertained conference attendees on a grand scale. This year the clear winner in the best demo category was Sun Microsystems with its large model race track complete with dueling race cars speeding around the track. We’re sure this was a strong attraction to Sun’s Java exhibit.

Key Announcement

With well-placed banners and a clear message, Mentor Graphics announced that they would be reducing the price of their EDGE development tools to $2,995 per seat. The announcement should be seen as a clear indication of the pricing pressure that may continue to impact the market going forward. With its corporate strength residing in the EDA market and a history of not hesitating to aggressively compete on price in other instances, VDC believes that other vendors in the market should not fail to take note of Mentor Graphics’ latest movements. In dropping the price of its EDGE development tools, the company is clearly throwing down a challenge to other commercial vendors to justify charging more for their operating systems and tools and demonstrate the additional value they can provide. The company complemented this significant announcement with additional improvements to its Nucleus operating system and a key partnership with STMicroelectronics and the Nomadik product line. VDC expects this partnership to further support Mentor Graphics’ push into the application processor segment of the mobile phone market, where the company already has dominance around the requirement for baseband processor operating systems.

Ensuing Pricing Battles in the Operating System and Development Tools Market

Mentor Graphics’ announcement was part of a larger theme VDC observed at the show. It is increasingly clear that many suppliers are determined to offer quality, commercial-grade development tools at significantly lower per seat prices. These efforts are rapidly shifting the value of software solutions higher up the stack. Consequently, leading vendors are pushing to deliver solutions to market that provide a much broader level of value than before, in order to effectively compete for high-end customers and encourage embedded systems manufacturers to standardize on their software solutions.


ENEA announced version 2.0 of its Element High Availability middleware product that uses Enea’s LINX communications services and supports a number of Linux operating systems and AdvancedTCA systems. The company also revealed an Eclispe-based IDE to support its OSE RTOS called Optima starting at $3,000 per seat.

Green Hills Software demonstrated its commitment to bringing more function into its MULTI tool chain with the introduction of MULTI 5.0. The release included a major upgrade to TimeMachine, a source code analyzer called DoubleCheck, a distributed project builder, and a high-speed system simulation tool. The company also announced a new version of its GHNet TCP/IP networking software and the availability of SuperTrace probe and TimeMachine for Freescale’s ColdFire microcontrollers.

After celebrating a 10 year anniversary, Express Logic announced ThreadX RTOS support for Tensilica’s Diamond Standard and Xtensa processor cores. Marketing VP John Carbone also participated in a “No BS” panel discussion on the use of Linux in real-time and embedded systems. The premise of the panel was based in part on recent research findings from CMP that the use of Linux in the embedded market is on the decline (research that contradicts VDC’s latest findings).

IBM Rational was also in attendance with demonstrations of its new Eclispe-based Rational Systems Developer product released early this year. The software modeling leader continues to highlight its focus on the systems market and the benefits of an integrated set of life-cycle management tools.

LynuxWorks announced that Dr. Inder M. Singh has assumed the role of company chairman, with Gurjot Singh replacing him as CEO and president. In addition, LynuxWorks made several other announcements at the show including the release of LynxOS-SE, a new partitioned real-time operating system based on the LynxOS-178 product line. The new product offers POSIX and ARINC compliance and an ability to run Linux applications in safety-critical applications. Lynuxworks also noted complete support for Xilinx 32-bit processors with its LynxOS product and announced that RTI’s Data Distribution Service middleware would be ported to the new LynxOS-SE product.

RTI also had a number of announcements including the release of the RTI Data Distribution Service version 4.1 with enhanced messaging QoS and the introduction of its own tool suite called the RTI Developer Platform. The company also announced a partnership with up-and-coming modeling tools vendor Sparx Systems, an emerging provider at the low end of the market.

In addition to announcing its platform partnership with Wind River Systems and one of its recent design wins in the industrial automation market, Aonix announced ObjectAda Real-Time RAVEN’s availability for SYSGO AG’s PikeOS product, which also uses software partitioning to enable safety-critical certification and the introduction of Linux applications.

This year, VDC and Adams Capital Management sponsored CMP’S “The Disruption Zone,” a group of companies with the potential to “propel the next big leap forward in the embedded market.” In addition to grouping these companies in a single location on the exhibit floor, the area featured an event where these suppliers could discuss the details of the unique opportunities that their products offer.

Encirq, participating as one of the nine identified Disruption Zone companies, announced the release of DeviceSQL 3.0. Virtutech, the supplier of full system simulation development tools aimed at accurately simulating hardware to enabling better software and systems development, was also attended as member. Other Disruption Zone members included CorEdge Networks, Enpirion, SecureRF, Sensor Platforms, Quantum Leaps, Quickfilter Technologies, and UltraCell.

The Embedded Business Group of Hitachi America announced the launch of Entier, a new relational database management system for embedded devices. The small footprint database (less than 1MB) offers advanced spatial, contextual and incremental text search capabilities. The solution is particularly suited to address the GPS navigation, set top box, and mobile phone markets, but the company also expects to serve additional markets going forward.

McObject announced a partnership with eCosCentric where McObject has ported its eXtremeDB in-memory embedded database to the eCosPro developers’ kit for the eCos open source RTOS. In addition, the company announced the availability of Perst Lite, a micro-footprint version of the Perst open source, object oriented embedded database.

MaCraigor Systems announced the availability of usb2sprite, the companies USB 2.0 interface product, for Coldfire and DSP 56300 processors and the now company has support for these microprocessors within its GNU toolset, with sample configurations for standard evaluation boards.

Grammatech, the provider of code analysis tools, released CodeSonar 2.0 with added C++ support and the ability to analysis source code larger than a million lines of code. The company also signed agreements with UK-based Scientific Computers and MDS Technology of Korea to distribute its technologies abroad.

Microcross announced that they had entered into an integration/distribution agreement with TrollTech to integrate and resell Qtopia along with its own Linux-oriented GNU X-Tools product.

Other embedded systems vendors also in attendance at the show were American Arium, Ardence, Carbon Design Systems, Coverity, Ember, IAR Systems, IBM Rational, Keil (an ARM company), Lauterbach, Klocwork, LDRA, Microcross, MKS, Perforce, Polyspace, Sophia Systems, Quadros, and others.


Robert Carroll said...

Great blog on ESC Boston. Alex Wilson just published a blog reviewing ESC United Kingdom that you may find interesting, as well: