I was unable to attend ESC Silicon Valley last week, and again it feels strange not to have been writing a flurry of related news stories. (The show this year was part of an overall Design West event in San Jose, collectively covering ” embedded hardware and software design, total systems integration, power management, open source software, Android, embedded security, LEDs, multicore, sensors, and much more.”)
There doesn’t seem to have been as much publicity for the show this year as usual (here’s one release that appeared on PR Newswire), and I haven’t heard how attendance compared to earlier years. But as usual, participants apparently enjoyed meaty sessions on such things as porting Android to the low-cost BeagleBone.
If, for the sake of argument, embedded events aren’t growing — and are possibly even contracting — it’s because they’re the victims of their own success. Before consumers cared about smartphones, tablets, or thin-and-light portable computers, engineers didn’t get much attention when they talked about power efficiency, thermal management, or embedded operating systems.
But now that “the Internet of things” is regularly discussed in the mainstream media, embedded computing isn’t really even a niche any more. (That said, there’s plenty of specialized knowledge to be exchanged, and I’d guess ESC isn’t about to be replaced by the Consumer Electronics Show!)
Two interesting signs of the times that coincided with ESC: Adlink acquired Lippert, following its 2008 acquisition of Ampro, and says it will “become the foremost provider of modular computing products.” And IDC predicted the following:
“A relatively dramatic shift between 2011 and 2016, with the once-dominant Windows on x86 platform, consisting of PCs running the Windows operating system on any x86-compatible CPU, slipping from a leading 35.9% share in 2011 down to 25.1% in 2016. The number of Android-based devices running on ARM CPUs, on the other hand, will grow modestly from 29.4% share in 2011 to a market-leading 31.1% share in 2016. “