Intel's move into embedded processors
Innovation in low-power, high-performance processors led to the birth of the Intel Atom processor, a low-power and relatively high-performance processor that revolutionized the computing industry powering the low-cost laptops called "netbooks" and announced Intel's entry into embedded markets. The strong software ecosystem around established Intel® Architecture made it easier for customers and OEMs to adapt their designs to platforms built around the Intel Atom processor.
Today, with continued innovation and a comprehensive roadmap for embedded devices, Intel Atom microarchitecture has significant advantages over other traditional embedded architecture. Intel Atom microarchitecture continues to find new applications ranging from industrial automation to in-vehicle infotainment. The Intel Atom Processor can be used in a low-power high-performance embedded device, such as a smart phone similar to the way ARM architecture has been used in such devices in the past.
Future growth of the Intel Atom microarchitecture into embedded markets requires a seamless transition for other processor-based embedded software to Intel Architecture while maintaining the platform performance and compatibility. Winning designs by software is critical to encouraging designers to adopt Intel Atom microarchitecture for embedded markets.
However, embedded systems pose a unique challenge. The nature of function-specific embedded industry verticals like automotive, industrial automation and communications has resulted in proliferation of software solutions that have been very closely tied to the hardware capabilities of embedded platforms.
This paper analyzes a case study with an Intel Atom processor-based solution that included migrating the ARM based software layers to Intel Architecture. The case study exposed the software challenges involved, and the conclusions outline a methodology that would facilitate the migration of ARM based software to Intel architecture.