Embedded Platforms: From the First Digital Electronic Watch to IoT, Drones, Wearables, and More!
Mouser’s Michael Parks has a nice snapshot write-up of ‘Trends and Products of 2017‘ to look out for – some you are likely aware of if not already using, like Alexa, while others are still being teased to come down the pipeline (I’m looking at you ASUS Tinker Board – image above). Read it now, and bookmark it, to check back in come 2018 and see how thing shaped up! (Also, I love any article that includes footnote sources.)
In 1972, the Hamilton Watch Company released the Pulsar digital watch for a price just north of $2,000 (USD). The red glow of the watches LEDs was a visible cue that the future had arrived. For many, the first personal encounter with embedded electronics was a digital wrist watch like the Pulsar or perhaps a simple four-function calculator. Fast forward over forty years later, and it’s easy to see that the world of embedded systems has never slowed down. 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year for embedded developers as platforms continue to evolve to incorporate improvements that will make delivering products to the eager hands of consumers faster and cheaper.
To appreciate the new embedded platforms that are coming this year, it’s important to consider what has been happening in the marketplace and what is driving the need for new hardware. In a nutshell, we are seeing a maturing of many product categories that first emerged over the past five years or so. If you look at the plot of adoption rates of many new product categories, there almost always seems to be a strong initial adoption, followed by an equally sharp drop off if first generation products fail to live up to the hype. This is followed finally by a long yet steady adoption by the masses as follow-on product generations improve and costs drop. With that in mind, here are some of the factors that are shaping the marketplace in 2017:
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