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dmandell
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embedded system definition
dmandell   6/9/2014 2:37:52 PM
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It's a valid question that is becoming even harder to answer with the emergence of mobile computing. Here at VDC Research we define it as any non general-purpose + non personal computing machine (desktop PCs, laptops, consumer tablets, and similar). No matter how you say it, you will usually need to qualify exceptions for particular computing form factors or vertical applications, as a single embedded system could be leveraged for potentially multiple applications.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: embedded system definition
Max The Magnificent   6/9/2014 2:44:12 PM
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@dmandell: non general-purpose + non personal computing machine

Not bad ... but should we prefix this with "Processor-based..." or "MCU,MPU-based..."

dmandell
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Re: embedded system definition
dmandell   6/9/2014 2:48:23 PM
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@Max: Very true. Here is the long version of our def:

Embedded System - A specialized or dedicated computer used to control devices (such as automobiles, home and office appliances, handheld units of all kinds, etc.) where the operating system and application functions are often combined in the same program. An embedded system implies a fixed set of functions programmed into a non-volatile memory (ROM, flash memory, etc.) in contrast to a general-purpose computing machine. However, sometimes single board computers and rack-mounted computers are called "embedded computers" if used to control a terminal interface, machine, motor, etc. An embedded device or system may contain more than one operating system and/or processors (microprocessor, microcontroller, etc.). Specifically excluded from this definition are all types of enterprise computing machines deployed as general-purpose computers (i.e., desktop PCs, standard laptop PCs, etc.). VDC's definition of embedded system/device is intended to give a good indication of the potential operating system and run-time software royalty opportunity within the embedded systems market.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: embedded system definition
Max The Magnificent   6/9/2014 2:54:40 PM
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@dmandell: Here is the long version of our def...

Well, that's certainly a pretty definative definition LOL

What I need to do is boil thsi down to a "sound-bite" -- like if you are in an elevator and someone says "so, what is an embedded system?" and you've only got 6 floors to provide an answer LOL

dmandell
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Re: embedded system definition
dmandell   6/9/2014 3:00:19 PM
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therein lies the challenge! I guess a  "dedicated non-pc computer" would cover most bases, as it implies a processor

Duane Benson
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It's all blurry in here
Duane Benson   6/9/2014 3:02:15 PM
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I'm not sure the term has much life left in it. The problem is that lines all over the place are blurring.

Embedded systems used to be about control of things. But what happens when the device just has an internet connection and all of the control takes place in the cloud, or on a phone?

With the Internet of things, soon just about everything will have some associated computing power. But, again, is it an embedded computer, or just an embedded communications link?

When none of the devices can stand alone, but they make up a computer as a collection, is that embedded computing, distributed computing, or something else?

betajet
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Re: embedded system definition
betajet   6/9/2014 3:15:25 PM
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How about this?  "An embedded system is a product that uses a computer to provide its functionality by running a single program loaded into it by the manufacturer.  Even though an embedded system contains a computer, you can't run your own program on it."

Unless your want to hack it, of course... whoops, this is my floor.

I forget who said this: "Designing embedded systems is a profession that's impossible to explain to your mother."

Max The Magnificent
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Re: embedded system definition
Max The Magnificent   6/9/2014 3:17:35 PM
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@dmandell: ...I guess a  "dedicated non-pc computer" would cover most bases...

Is a smartphone an embedded system? It's not exactly dedicated to anything, but it's also not a PC...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: It's all blurry in here
Max The Magnificent   6/9/2014 3:19:06 PM
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@Duane: When none of the devices can stand alone, but they make up a computer as a collection, is that embedded computing, distributed computing, or something else?

Hey, I'm the one who is asking the questions LOL

Max The Magnificent
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Re: embedded system definition
Max The Magnificent   6/9/2014 3:20:32 PM
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@Betajet: "Designing embedded systems is a profession that's impossible to explain to your mother."

I LOVE IT -- maybe that's the definition of an embedded system -- an electronic system that's impossible to explain to your mother.

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