GE Intelligent Platforms is one of a handful of big dogs in this market (see chart below). Its products are a 60/40 mix of Intel and Freescale boards including a lot of legacy PowerPC-based designs.
“Historically we’ve been an Intel and Freescale house, but the design wins now are going for Intel,” said David K. Pepper, a technologist in the mil/aero group of GE’s embedded group. Intel refreshes its products about every 15 months so “it’s a better tech play, Freescale is struggling to catch up,” he said.
“Freescale will come back again as it brings out new chips supporting Altivec” the SIMD instructions it abandoned for a cycle, much to the consternation of many embedded board makers, Pepper said.
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GE IP has emerged as top dog in single-board computers using VITA form factors.
GE will roll out its first ARM-based mezzanine cards this year usaing Marvell Armada SoCs for missiles, drones and apps demanding the lowest power and space. Initially they will make up less than 10 percent of sales.
ARM-based boards are “going to be a niche [in embedded this year] but it will grow,” Pepper said.