Embedded systems have a specific purpose. Most people go through their day completely unaware of how many embedded systems surround them. Not many people would make the comment "Wow, that's a pretty nice embedded system for the heating and distribution of water over ground coffee beans." People are more likely to comment on what a nice coffee maker you have.
Embedded computers are everywhere, not just in coffee makers. You can find them in toys, cars, microwaves and just about any other electronic device that has something resembling a "brain." In the three decades since embedded systems have hit the electronics industry, they have become an integral part of it. As you are determining your needs for embedded processors, remember the following points:
1. Embedded systems have new uses every day
2. Much of today’s technology wouldn't be possible without embedded systems
3. Embedded computers can be simple or complex
Determine the type of embedded processor necessaryFigure out the scope of the device you want and determine which kind of processor it requires. Processors are available in the form of a simple 4-bit model to a highly advanced 128-bit embedded microprocessor. A lower end processor would do well in simple "talking greeting cards" or certain children's toys.
Find the right operating system for embedded systemsThe best course of action would be to look into an embedded operating system if the needs of the product are such that embedded system software is required. Products like coffee makers and talking cards generally don't need an entire operating system and run off a basic set of instructions. Things get more complicated as you add features to the device.
Make embedded single-board computer technology work for business needsAs technology advances, single board computers are becoming a more valid form of business technology. Unable to handle the rigors of high end graphics, these tools aren't good if you're working graphic design or anything like that. Many of these systems are built to run business applications and only business applications.
- The more advanced the embedded processor, the more expensive it's going to be. While more power always sounds good, it's not always necessary to get the job done.