New embedded I/O expansion standard

We have received advanced information concerning what is being referred to as a significant new multi-vendor initiative in the embedded market. It is expected that this new embedded I/O expansion standard will be adopted rapidly throughout the board-level embedded market, because it fills a need that cannot be addressed by stackable expansion standards such as the numerous PC/104, SUMIT, and ITX form-factor variants.

Rick Lehrbaum


Key Features of the New Standard
Compact, low profile form-factor — three-fifths the size of a credit card, and one-third the size of a PC/104 module
Single low-cost connector integrates all host and external I/O interfaces
Provides up to 100 I/O points per module
Leverages industry-standard buses such as PCI Express, USB, and I2C
Host form-factor and processor agnostic
Coexists with PC/104, SUMIT, Qseven, ETX, XTX, COM Express, etc.
Multiple I/O expansion modules may be present within one system
Open industry standard
Rugged and reliable

Key Benefits of the New Standard

Shortens time-to-market
Reduces board-level development costs and risks
Simplifies system design
Eliminates cables, resulting in higher reliability, lower cost, and faster assembly
Enables scalable and reconfigurable system design
Enables easy product upgrades
Protects from component obsolescence
Encapsulates intellectual property
Suitable for SBCs, baseboards, and proprietary all-in-one hardware designs
Ideal for rapid-prototyping through high-volume applications
Ideal format for silicon vendor reference designs
Open standard increases market acceptance

Yet, it is synergistic — not competitive — with those standards, as well as with various Computer-on-Module approaches such as COM Express and Qseven.

A general outline of the characteristics of the new standard was been released on Monday in the form of a media advisory, with full details to come out in early March to coincide with the official launch at Embedded World 2010 in Nueremberg, Germany.

Details were published by Diamond Systems and heralded by Rick Lehrbaum as “the most significant embedded system expansion innovation since the birth of PC/104 in 1992!”

They and a group of companies in the global board-level embedded computing market are to jointly launch this developement, an exciting new embedded system expansion standard at the show on 2nd March 2010.

The new mezzanine-style standard, originated by Diamond, defines a highly compact, low cost way to add application-oriented capabilities to single-board computers (SBCs), computer-on-module (COM) baseboards, and fully-custom embedded electronics. They claim the standard to be highly synergistic with existing and emerging bus-, I/O-, chip- and board- level technologies. Additionally, the standard leverages the latest high-speed serial expansion standards and is suitable for use with both x86 and RISC architecture host processors, the company said.

Following its initial public announcement and demonstration, Diamond are to transfer ownership of the new embedded I/O expansion standard — including its specifications, trademark, and logo — to a suitable standards organization, the company said. Thereafter, the standard itself will be usable by anyone without charge; however, rights to use of the logo in association with products will be restricted to members of its parent organization

“This new I/O expansion standard satisfies the desire of customers to be able to add application-specific capabilities to SBCs and COM baseboards without adding height to the system,” noted Diamond Founder and President Jonathan Miller.

Colin McCracken, Diamond’s VP of Marketing and cocreator of the SUMIT standard, added that the new standard “passes along to system OEMs and end users the substantial benefits of size, weight, and power savings resulting from Moore’s Law.”

“It represents the most significant embedded system expansion Innovation since the birth of PC/104 in 1992,” concluded Rick Lehrbaum, Strategic Development Specialist at Diamond and author of the original PC/104 specification. (Incidentally one ought be loath to dismiss Rick Lehrbaum’s predictions as they do seem to be uncanningly accurate. His blog “Device Guru”, said in March 2009 “Recent rumors have it that Apple is working on a new product with a 10-inch touchscreen. Of course, everyone’s predicting it’ll be Apple’s first netbook. Given the iPhone’s stunning success in the teeny-tablet space, however, DeviceGuru can’t help wondering if Apple is readying its first netpad, rather than the rumored netbook. Perhaps they’ll call it the “iPad.” )
According to Diamond, several companies will demonstrate products compatible with the new standard at Embedded World 2010. Products demonstrated will include I/O expansion modules based on the standard and both single-board computers and application baseboards having sockets for the modules.

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One Response to New embedded I/O expansion standard

  1. jagadeesh says:

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