SAN FRANCISCO Mentor Graphics has expanded its position in embedded software with the unveiling of its Android and Linux strategy at the Design Automation Conference here. The EDA vendor has also announced the acquisition of Embedded Alley Solutions, a leader in Android and Linux development systems.
Embedded Alley's Android and Linux products and services will be offered with the Mentor Graphics Nucleus real-time operating system, tools and middleware. Mentor Graphics is planning to provide solutions beyond the mobile market for which Android was originally developed.
At the same time, the company will be combining Linux and its Nucleus RTOS on multicore processors.
"Our investment in Embedded Alley, and its products, open source expertise, and services, will allow our customers to innovate and build better products with power savings, performance optimization, and reduced system cost and risk," said Glenn Perry, Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division General Manager.
Mentor Graphics' Android, Linux, and Nucleus ecosystem is being supported by semiconductor partners ARM, Freescale, Marvell, MIPS, RMI, and Texas Instruments. In separate announcements today, Mentor Graphics revealed support for the ARM Mali graphics processing unit family, Freescale Power Architecture processors and Marvell Sheeva MV78200 Dual-core Embedded Processors.
Embedded Alley (San Jose, Calif.) already has Android tools and services available for the RMI Au1250 SoC and the MIPS architecture. The company was formed five years ago and has a software lab in St. Petersburg, Russia with the half the company's 28-person staff working there.
"We plucked the best and the brightest Russian software developers one by one to work on Linux development projects," said Embedded Alley CEO Pete Popov. "With an open systems strategy you can more easily build up distributed talent globally."
"As early developers in embedded Linux, Embedded Alley is well-known in the open source community, both as active participants in major projects such as OpenEmbedded, Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, and Linux kernel development, and as leaders in commercial development based on open source software. Their strong reputation follows them into the Android commercial tool market, now placing Mentor Graphics at the forefront of open source software in embedded devices," said Perry.
Earlier last month, Embedded Alley shipped its Embedded Alley Development System for Android-based devices built on MIPS Technologies' processors, targeting applications in domains beyond mobile handsets.
In remarks at the Android strategy announcement here at DAC, Mentor Graphics (Wilsonville, OR) chairman Walden Rhines said that "most electronics products today are a synthesis of hardware design and embedded software, and the embedded software is the main differentiator for product functionality and performance."
Mentor Graphics is committed to embedded software said Rhines, emphasizing that "understanding embedded software helps Mentor understand low-power design, performance optimization, and how to optimize system cost."
"It also makes financial sense, with the embedded software market growing faster than EDA," said Rhines, emphasizing that Mentor Graphics already owns "42 percent of the commercial RTOS market with its Nucleus RTOS running in some 500 million new devices every year."
Rhines said that although Android is designed for mobile phones, there is great value in applications beyond mobile phones and Mentor Graphics aims to "enable Android for the broader market."