This whole piece looks like an advertisement for this little unknown start-up company from Croatia packaged as a product "evaluation" by an unknown consulting company. If anyone believes that they can compete with TI in anything he/she needs his/her head examined. Why would EETimes lend its name and credibility to something like this is a mystery.
Temperature range of AFE4490 is -40 to +85C and the lower cost AFE4400 is 0 – 70C.
AFE4490 programmable gain range is from 10k to 1000k in seven steps for the TIA and a further gain of 1 to 4 in five steps. Furthermore, the TIA has programmable feedback capacitors (5 to 250pF in six steps), which allow for tailoring of the bandwidth.
The ADC in AFE4490 is 22bits versus 13bit ADC for SC-I-AFE-180F110 (that is what the product brief says. Pity there is no full datasheet on-line to enable a full comparison).
AFE4490 splits the analogue and digital supplies to allow interface to a range of micro I/O voltages over the SPI. The SC-I-AFE-180F110 states that it has a single supply requirement of 1.6 to 1.8V. How to interface that? Probably need level translators.
Broad application ICs can end up being a jack of all trades and a master of none. AFE44xx is primarily for pulse oximeter, but is successfully used in other applications where the integration of both the Tx for the LED and the Rx photodiode portions make sense. For interfacing to other types of sensors then different AFEs are required; LMP91000 / 2, LMP91050 / 1, LMP91200, LMP90100 etc.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...