The topic of storage technology seemed to be everywhere at last week's Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, appearing in numerous key note speeches, presentations and exhibit booths. It appears the industry is waking up to the difficulties of storing and managing a torrent of data being produced by new mobile applications. Micron's presence both on the show floor and conference sessions highlighted their philosophy of creating application-specific storage technologies. In particular, Tom Eby's keynote address considered both ends of the device and storage spectrum, dividing the market into devices that run applications and those that don't, that is, devices that demand LOTS of Storage and those that run on meager memory systems (i.e., feature phones). An interesting side note for Micron customers, Tom announced Micron's Product Longevity Program (also referred to as PLP) which assures developers availability of Micron flash parts for a 10 year period - especially helpful for makers of long-life-cycle embedded products. Also from Micron, Wanmo Wong gave an excellent presentation on flash file system options for Linux and Android in which he expounded a laundry list of questions that must be answered when making that selection. It was just the right amount of detail for a Linux and flash memory newbie, highlighting the sheer number of issues that must be addressed when selecting the right flash file system for a particular application. The Woz' (Steve Wozniak, chief scientist at Fusion-IO) gave a lively fireside chat on the challenges and roadblocks for passionate engineers, from societal problems like our school systems' failure to nurture brilliant engineering minds, to the difficult balance between getting a (sometimes tedious) job done and following your engineering passion. Virtually every storage technology was on display from the embedded storage vendors around the globe, from PCM (Phase Change Memory) chips, to eMMC 4.41 parts, to on-board storage, USB and 2-1/2 inch HDD form factor solutions. Flash storage solutions were presented by Apacer, Innodisk, Viking, STEC and others. In a sea of slick memory packaging, the Viking example below really screamed embedded to me.
On the Android front, Datalight demonstrated how open source and great proprietary solutions can come together and give developers the best of both worlds. Our temporary home in booth 2320 featured this sneak preview of our upcoming Android support on a TI Beagle board.