Datalight congratulates our integration partners Adeneo and Bsquare for again winning the Microsoft Windows Embedded Excellence Award for 2012! Adeneo has received the Excellence Award in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Bsquare has won the award in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. As a Windows Embedded Gold Partner, Adeneo Embedded has built an extensive portfolio of design and system integration successes based on Windows Embedded, Windows Mobile, and .net Micro Framework operating systems. Their worldwide client base develops solutions for automotive, industrial, medical, multi-media, navigation, networking, mobile and wireless markets. Bsquare, a global leader in embedded solutions, applies experience and expertise on leading platforms to create new connections with customers, new business models and to enable new ways of working and communicating. Bsquare serves its customers by forging connections among the partners, people, tools, and technology needed to create smart connected devices.
RobHart | December 26, 2012 | Uncategorized
Last week’s Flash Memory Summit did not disappoint. As one of the early sponsors of the conference, it was awe-inspiring to stand in the middle of the exhibit hall and see how the show has grown, in both number of booths and attendees. It really hit home for me – The Summit is all grown up, and so is the flash industry. It was also good confirmation on our decision to launch our newest eMMC product, FlashFXe at the show. The release of our new test data showing its effect on IOPS (5-21X!) and up to 40% power savings definitely caught attention at the show, along with our splashy new banners (and Thom, below).
Some of the other highlights of the show were:
The SK Hynix Keynote speech was full of interesting tidbits, such as the endurance differential between SLC NAND vs. MLC NAND, at just under 50,000 and just under 3,000 program/erase cycles respectively. The difference is of course increasing as die sizes shrink.
LPDC seems to be the heir apparent to BCH so far as error correcting algorithms go. At least one company presented a new “lattice” ECC scheme which is better than either of those (patent pending).
There was a general feeling, expressed in at least a few of the 11 (eleven!) keynotes, that SSDs have not grown in market share as much as was anticipated.
We were amazed at the number of people still doing CF cards.
In the mobile applications session, it was good to see confirmation of market trends we’ve been hearing about all year:
- Demand for Notebooks/Netbooks has leveled off, while tablets, ultrabooks, and ultraportables are growing fast
- The X86 and ARM architectures are overlapping, especially in tablets
- The hottest design attributes for mobile phones are performance, form factor, power consumption and security
- eMMC is running into performance limitations when it comes to smartphones
- UFS is the future for mobile devices, due to lower active and standby power.
The Consumer applications session was full of good information, focused primarily on optimizing the user experience:
- Windows RT delay will push out eMMC adoption
- The failure rate of SSDs is multiplied by high capacity applications
- SATA-SSD do not need power failure protection
- Data compression in SATA drives can help balance the endurance issues for small write applications. However, Media files cannot be compressed, and are therefore best stored in hard drives
- Bandwidth cost is becoming an important design factor, as it is having increased impact on user costs.
RobHart | August 31, 2012 | Flash Industry Info, Flash Memory
The Arlington Neobots are not like other high school technology clubs. For one thing they have access to a phenomenal pool of mentors from local technology companies like Boeing, Microsoft and now Datalight. They also have a growing number of female members, a rarity in youth organizations oriented to math and science.
Founded in 2008 with seed money from Boeing, the team competes in an annual robot building competition created by national non-profit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and this year the competition is already ramping up. For 2012, FIRST has challenged the robotics teams to a game similar to basketball called Rebound Rumble. Six teams are split up into two alliances of three; one alliance is blue and the other red. During the 2-minute and 15-second match, teams compete by trying to make as many baskets as they can. Part of the match is devoted to a 15-second autonomous mode where the robot is controlled through an XBox Kinect instead of the robot’s standard remote control. There are four hoops – one high, two middle, and one low. The higher the hoop, the more points awarded for making a basket in it.
The Neobots will need to work together in teams to finish their robot by the competition deadline. First, the one-week design phase involves team analysis of the game and its rules manual, and a group decision on game strategy and design criteria for the team robot. Next, the team will split into design groups to brainstorm, research and present their findings to the team. Then, using 3D models and prototypes, each group will propose a robot design to be voted on by the team. After the design is established, the build phase involves again breaking into sub-groups that are each assigned projects like System Integration, Programming, and Drive-Base, and other functions. The team will follow an iterative process; every major milestone will be tested rigorously before they proceed.
You might ask why Datalight would sponsor a high school robotics club. VP of Engineering Ken Whitaker puts it this way; “This is one of the most important things we can do as a technology company. What you’re seeing in its raw form is the next generation of embedded engineers, and we have a responsibility to nurture and support them. In a few years time I could see any of these motivated students ending up on my engineering team.”
RobHart | February 20, 2012 | Datalight Products
InHand’s development platforms are known in the embedded industry for their generous list of features, fast time-to-market, and solid performance. Recently, when a customer’s unusual flash configuration began causing corruption issues related to the default flash driver on Windows CE, InHand turned to Datalight FlashFX Pro, with immediate results. The InHand team was so impressed with the ease of implementation and improved flexibility of FlashFX Pro, that they decided to include it with every Fingertip4 and Fingertip5 module they sell. Continue reading for more about InHand’sDatalight FlashFX Pro experience with .
RobHart | November 3, 2009 | Flash Memory
Attendance at FMS broke records for the fourth year in a row – truly remarkable, given our current economic situation. I think even the organizers were pleasantly surprised by the confirmation that FMS is now the venue of choice for flash industry leaders to come together and for the rest of the industry to learn what is new in the world of flash technology. As a sponsor of the show since its inception, Datalight contributed to the Summit by organizing a half-day executive update, presenting on wear-leveling, moderating a round-table on endurance at the beer & pizza forum, and delivering a product demonstration at the FMS Theater.
Once again SSDs, thought by many to be the savior of the beleaguered flash industry, dominated the agenda. This year talk of application-specific SSDs was everywhere, specifically optimizations for interfaces like SAS, SATA, and fiber channel.
Presumably, the idea behind application-specific SSDs is to drive faster adoption by tuning them for the use cases presented by different applications. For example, in a random write intensive application, additional RAM may be added to mitigate lackluster random write performance by buffering writes.
As expected, there was a fair amount of preaching to the choir about the benefits of SSDs over HDDs, including read/write performance and the power savings. Intel touted 17% longer battery life and reduced failure rates (less than .5% for SSD vs. 5% for HDD). Other manufacturer’s boasted instant-on boot time, smaller footprint, and lower DRAM requirements.
On the topic of barriers to adoption, SSDs were declared still too expensive for mass market appeal. Also, many of the benefits promised by SSDs are being undone by bottlenecks in the OS (and file system!). As a result, it was postulated that SSDs will cannibalize 15k RPM HDDs, where customers are willing to pay a premium for speed, rather than replacing HDDs as a whole, at least in the short term,
In the emerging technologies track, 3-D NAND was promoted by both Micron and SanDisk, in part because they are able to leverage the technology used to build DRAM for manufacturing 3-D NAND, making it easier and cheaper to produce. It was particularly interesting to hear SanDisk say that 4 bit per cell will have limited application in the future, especially since it had been speculated that the 4 b/c technology was a key reason for them to acquire M-Systems. PCM and FeRAM were also discussed as next generation flash technologies. Overall, we were impressed by the level of participation from across the industry and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Summit!
RobHart | August 19, 2009 | Flash Industry Info
Our R&D folks couldn’t wait to get their hands on the new test board from Digi which arrived a couple weeks ago. The board comes with multiple testing interfaces, making it easy to switch between a number of different flash parts for back-to-back comparisons. They have been practically wearing the thing out, testing the performance of a number of different managed and raw NAND parts to get a better idea of the differences our customers see when doing benchmarks. Check out a few pictures of the setup currently in Glenn’s office, and contact us for more information on this project.
RobHart | July 21, 2009 | Datalight Products, Flash Memory
Recently, LG Electronics, a well-known Korean-based manufacturer of consumer electronics, created a multimedia-enabled portable navigator for the North American market. The LN790 features a 4.3” LCD screen, Bluetooth hands-free functionality, and video-enabled playback. Ruggedness and fast access to data are important to consumers in this market, so the device was designed to boot directly from a NAND mass storage environment using Windows CE. Unfortunately, LG product engineers had a difficult time getting the device to boot fast enough using CE’s FAL/FMD flash drivers. At just over two minutes, the startup time did not match LG’s reputation for high-performance consumer devices.
The Datalight Solution
As LG engineers went searching for solutions to the boot speed problem, they discovered that Datalight FlashFX® Pro uses a more efficient approach to managing bad blocks than CE’s standard FMD/FAL drivers, which can speed boot time significantly. This difference is especially apparent when the device is using a large NAND disk, because boot time is somewhat proportional to the size of the flash.
Why is FlashFX Pro more efficient? Startup with FAL requires the driver to read more data as part of its mount sequence, a lengthy process particularly if the disk is large. In contrast, FlashFX Pro requires a much simpler check of the media to complete the initial mount.
The Customer Payoff
After implementation of FlashFX Pro, LG engineers were delighted to discover that the device’s boot time was cut by more than half. By using FlashFX Pro instead of the native Windows CE drivers, LG designers were able to achieve the performance their customers expect from a premium-quality personal navigator. There was also an additional benefit they hadn’t counted on – FlashFX Pro support for over 200 flash parts means that the LN790 will be future-proof from flash parts going on allocation, unexpected price fluctuations, and end-of-life issues.
RobHart | November 6, 2008 | Consumer Other, Cost Savings, Flash Memory Manager, Performance