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ARM becomes processor of choice for embedded modules

Congatec is the latest embedded computer module firm to increase its dependence on ARM processors.

A major user of x86-based processors from Intel and AMD in its modules, congatec says it now plans to increasingly use ARM technology. 
As a result it will use Freescale's ARM-based i.MX portfolio of products. As a first step congatec is expanding its Qseven product family with Freescale processors. 
Embedded computer module suppliers Kontron and MSC already have ARM-based products.

According to congatec, the latest ARM processors will support the PC interfaces needed in computer-on-module (COM) product design.
The COM concept integrates all generally available interfaces onto the computer module itself while any special interfaces are implemented on individually-tailored carrier boards.

In contrast, the majority of existing ARM processors come with specialised interfaces designed to suit dedicated applications.

"These cannot be used by COMs in a standard format and are therefore neither interchangeable nor scalable. However, the new generation of ARM processors focuses on standard PC interfaces such as USB and PCI Express and will therefore be ideally suited to COMs," said congatec.
The Qseven specification was updated in September 2010 (Revision 1.20) to enable the development of 100% compatible ARM-based modules.

“In Freescale, we have found a reliable partner with whom we will be able to meet the requirements of our customers with regard to operating system support and long-term availability,” said Gerhard Edi, CEO of congatec AG.

According to Henri Richard, senior v-p of sales and marketing for Freescale: "Our next generation i.MX products will be introduced into applications more quickly and easily thanks to congatec’s Qseven modules.”
The first products resulting from the Freescale collaboration are expected to be available by the middle of 2012.

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