VDC Initiating Coverage on SMARC Embedded COMs

Supplier interviews for VDC’s 2013 Embedded Hardware Service for Embedded Products are currently underway. As a result of a recent SGET (Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies) announcement, we will now be including SMARC as a separate form factor in VDC’s embedded COMs report. SMARC, formerly known as ULP-COM, comprises a Kontron-proposed SGET standard for ultra low power COMs. In 2013, Kontron has announced the release of 3 new SMARC products utilizing one of Freescale, TI, or NVidia ARM-based processors. Somewhat similar in appearance to the DIMM-PC COM form factor which originated with JUMPtec (acquired by Kontron in 2002), SMARC modules are edge-connected rather than pin-connected as are many other COM form factors.

We expect low power computing modules such as SMARC which take advantage of new low power SoC products will find traction in many embedded markets, particularly in M2M applications. OEMs should be very interested in products that can be added to their existing platforms to add M2M functionality. In cases where an OEM’s products were not future-proofed with respect to available space or power supply capacity, being able to add new computing modules that support M2M without costly retrofits can be a huge advantage. In cases where M2M is being designed into a new system, these ultra low power computing modules can add the necessary functionality without having a huge impact on Bill of Material (BoM) costs.

We believe that VDC’s coverage of SMARC and similar embedded devices is of critical importance, both to suppliers of those products as well as to their customers. To put it simply, nobody wants to “bet on the wrong horse.” For an embedded product standard to be successful, it would have to be supported by several suppliers and purchased by a solid and wide customer base. Given any uncertainty, customers and suppliers are more likely to commit their money to proven products and standards, no matter how compelling the new developments might seem from a technology standpoint.

In 2013, VDC will work with both suppliers and their customers to determine which new products and standards are gaining traction and which, if any, product types or standards are losing share. It should be a very interesting year.

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