Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What's New at the Embedded World Conference 2015?

The Embedded World Conference 2015 is underway in Nuremberg, Germany and already a number of new chip products have been announced. This year the focus has most definitely been on the Internet of Things and how everyday items will be connected. Companies have been announcing products which will assist in making the connectivity easier and also new security features, which will be more important than ever if not only your laptop and phone can be hacked but your fridge and TV too!

NXP are focusing heavily on security with their new microcontroller ranges, LPC18SXX and LPC43SXX. These have been created 'for any 'connected' application, particularly hubs or gateways, tasked with relaying and/or bridging large volumes of high-speed data'. New security features added to these ranges include an integrated AES-128 encryption engine, non-volatile OTP memories for encrypted, hardware-randomized key storage and a true random number generator for unique key creation.

Atmel are focusing on a whole host of connected technologies from cars to industrial tech right through to connected homes and cloud systems. The SAM V71 is being shown in an automotive context to deliver 'the world’s highest performance Cortex-M-based Flash MCU'. They have also announced the SAM DA1, again for use in automotive applications. This new chip will be used in touch pads, touch buttons, sliders or wheel and parking sensors. They have been made smaller than similar chips, but they still pack a punch!
 The SAM DA1 device series will be available in a 5x5mm package and come with 32 to 64 pins, up to 64KB of Flash, 8KB of SRAM and 2KB read-while-write Flash and are qualified according to the AEC Q-100 Grade 2 (-40 to +105degreeC). Phew! 

And the UK based ARM has teamed up with IBM to create an IoT starter kit. It will take just minutes to unbox the equipment and start sending your readings to online apps. The kit contains two boards:

mbed Enabled Freescale K64F Freescale
  • K64F Kinetis K64 MCU (MK64FN1M0VLL12) 
  • High performance ARM® Cortex™-M4 Core with Floating point unit and DSP 
  • 120MHz, 256KB RAM, 1MB FLASH
 mbed Application shield
  • 128x32 Graphics LCD 
  • 5 way joystick 
  • 2 x Potentiometers 
  • Speaker, PWM Connected 
  • 3 Axis +/1 1.5g Accelerometer 
  • RGB LED, PWM connected
  •  Temperature sensor 
These are then connected to your computer via ethernet and USB cables and a whole range of cloud applications will be at your fingertips. The ease of use of this kit will vastly accelerate the amount of products which can be connected. The era of the Internet of Things is well and truly upon us.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top 10 Semiconductor Consumers

Samsung and Apple remain the top semiconductor customers throughout 2014. The tech giants used 57.9 billion components between them and took almost 20% of the market share, as this info from Gartner shows. These two companies really are the big hitters when it comes to new technology so it is no real surprise that they are the top consumers of semiconductors. The race between them to create the most popular smartphone, as well as all the other gadgets and computers both manufacture, it is easy to see why they needed such a large amount!

The other companies are all big names in the tech industry and all create a vast array of electronic products. They remain relatively unchanged from their consumption last year, just some slight shifting with the Chinese company Huawei going from 9th to 7th and Toshiba dropping from 8th to 10th

The large amount of semiconductors just the top 10 companies are using is really good news for all of us in the semiconductor industry. As new technologies keep being made and the Internet of Things keeps expanding, the future looks good for semiconductor companies throughout the supply chain.

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