1. We have used the i.MX6 in a variety of roles, tablets, POS terminal, Bank security devices and soon as a control processor of a quad rotor copter ! We also do automotive and industrial controls for a wide range of scenarios. In fact I rarely do MIL grade stuff. The tablet was a one-off.
2. In most of the apps support, remote maintainability, availability of developers etc were the key. As part of the work I do for the govt. we pretty much end up analysing every procssor family around and we actually have source access to x86 variants and PPC variants aprt from having our own ARM licenses. So our analysis goes pretty deep.
In all the analysis we did, no Intel variant came close to to any of the ARM variants. You name it - power, peripheral support, flexible boot support, esoteric SW libraries. ARM has really penetrated the embedded world in an extraordinary fashion. The x86 instruction set does extract a penalty !
Generally at the Cortex A9 level TI Sitara and Freescale i.MX came out on tops and FS won out due to better docs on security and availability. TI has same features but supporst them only for high volume customers.
But to be fair that was a Cortex part. In general for Cortex M part, NXP and ST are our go to families but FS M4 is a good alternative of late. Only case where we selected a Toshiba part was for brushless DC motor control for HVAC apps where Toshiba had the right HW support. Many Cortex M families had good BLDC libraries but HW support for vector control won me over.
It is based on all this experience, my confident assertion that somebody has not done a good analysis. I suspect that they selected a board or an ODM and the comments was based on the solution rather than the CPU. We also design using the new embedded Atoms (6xx) but only for cases where x86 compatibility is a must. I have put in a request for the new Quarks, let me see what I get !
3. As part of my earlier job where I was the CEO of a reasonable sized design services company, we used to do about 30-50 designs a year for customers around the world. We were also an Intel Yellow book partner for the x86 processor family and probably the lead design house for Intel's Xscale. We did an Xscale tablet for Ericsson back in 1998 . Monochrome, resistive touch. analog modem !
One point that often came through was the design engineers of our customers were often poor at part selection. The reason was simple. As a design services, we had the luxury of being exposed to most CPUs and their usage across a variety of scenarios. For example my HW manager used to ask me to pick up NXP LPCs for certain scaenarios since their I/O drive and pull ups were really good. Customer design engineers typically work on 1 or 2 product families and are stuck with legacy code and hence do not really have the chance to explore.
I doubt we will know Daikin's rationale but the publicly stated rationale I am afraid does not hold water.
Considering the only requirements we know from the article was "to offer a remote maintenance capability with high security." it's rather far fetched to claim a "poor technical decision" as you maintain. There are lots of reasons, besides the level of security provided, which would come into play in the decision by Daikin; think ease of use, maintainability, support, etc.
Using your reference design for a tablet with military grade security is not revalent as this is not a tablet, not needing to meet military anything, and only "high security."
And, no, I'm not associated with Intel, Freescale, ARM, or anyone else; I'm a retired engineer with well over thirty years experience designing embedded systems.
The 80376 was replaced by the 80386EX, which still kept the static core capable uf running at low clock speeds all the way down to halt to save power. But it also kept the 26-bit addressing, so wouldn't be appropriate for re-implementing at a smaller process size without a major update. But I do think it is probably a shrunken older core. I chose the P54C because it has already been worked on for the Single-chip Cloud Computer project and Larrabee.
It seems to me that it would make sense to strip off legacy support in a product like this. Why carry along MS-DOS compatability and segmented memory models when they are competing with ARMs that have a much cleaner architecture? The x86 has been overdue for cleaning out the attic for quite a while. Does anyone know if that is what they are doing here?
Happy to hear that this tiny chip could give 486, Pentium kind of performance, that would be great!! Will this be somewhere close to the SoC launched by AMD recently: G-series SoC? Probably having lower performance and features than that?
The part that scares me is "...suggesting it is more of a rushed trial balloon than a nailed-down product and strategy."
I would dare not think about using it if there are no clear strategy and a clear road-map. Any tentative timeline announced for its release?