IMS Research expects global sales of embedded computer boards and modules to grow strongly from almost $2.5 billion in 2009 to $4.3 billion in 2014. Although the smallest form-factors generally had lower market sizes than larger, more established boards in 2008 and 2009, the highest growth is forecast for these smaller boards over the next few years.
New research of the embedded computer and module market shows there is a move to smaller and smaller components and boards. Miniaturization has become a key focus of embedded board and module manufacturers; as end users want products that are compact but still offer good processing performance.
Small form factor boards, such as Qseven and Pico-ITX, have also opened up new application areas, where size, weight and power consumption are key concerns. The adoption of small form-factor boards in mobile applications has increased rapidly in recent years and is forecast to continue.
Report Author, Mark Watson, believes that in particular mobile applications in the transportation and military sectors are forecast high growth. He states that smaller and more integrated components have enabled board manufacturers to develop new small form-factor boards, which are still rugged but can be integrated into even smaller systems. These boards have opened up new applications, such as adoption in unmanned military vehicles, which are projected to grow quickly in the near future.
He concluded by stating that the miniaturization trend is likely to accelerate over the next few years.
Smaller size, weight, and power (SWAP) are certainly important for many systems, but there are secondary benefits as well. Smaller boards tend to have fewer vibration and temperature problems as well. It's still a little amazing to me that they can pack a full 32-bit computer into pretty much the space and power that it used to take for an 8051 microcontroller chip.
Size matters. With the highly integrated system and advancement in high capacity flash drive, building a tiny little embedded system is possible. Previous news indicates that Intel based system is getting popular in telecommunication space. It is not a surprise to me that form factor goes smaller. With the accelerated development of powerful ARM, I believe embedded system will get smaller over years.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.