SOURCE: The William Baldwin Group

October 24, 2006 17:32 ET

2006 Survey Identifies Trends in Embedded Designs

8-bit MCUs Explode 34%; FPGAs and ASICs Crashing

PALO ALTO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 24, 2006 -- Use of 8-bit microcontrollers increased 34% between 2005 and 2006, according to the third edition of The William Baldwin Group's report, "Marketing to Your Embedded Engineering Customer - 2006." The five-volume report presents the results of an extensive questionnaire submitted to 29,000 e-clips subscribers.

Over 640 engineers responded to a wide range of questions about the devices and tools they use, where they find new products, what information they trust, and how they select vendors.

The survey showed substantial increases in the use of 8-bit MCUs (34%) and 32-bit MCUs (16.3%), while FPGA use dropped 8.8% and ASIC use dropped 17.4%. (Graph available at

"Traditionally, FPGAs have been used as glue logic and to accelerate repetitive calculations," said Nancy B. Green, William Baldwin Group principal and the study's author. "Newer microcontrollers are so highly integrated that they may be reducing the need for glue logic. What's more, high performance MCUs that offer 150-plus MIPS and DSP instruction extensions may obviate the need for hardware acceleration. Shorter product life cycles may also be contributing to the shift. It's a lot easier to write code in C/C++ and run it on a processor, than it is to write code in C/C++ and then translate it to a hardware description language."

Other noteworthy changes from the 2005 survey include:

--  FPGA use is closely tied to ASIC use; 74% of FPGAs are used with an
--  Assembly language is not dead. Nearly half of engineers do some
    programming in assembly; 15% use it exclusively!
--  Controller features, tools and technical support are equally important
    in selecting a vendor.
--  The Internet, specifically, is the first place engineers go
    to find information about new products.

The report is presented in five volumes, as follows:

   Volume 1: Embedded Engineer Survey Overview (18 pages, 10 charts)
   Volume 2: What Engineers Do  (22 pages, 12 charts, 6 tables)
   Volume 3: Internet Strategies for Embedded Markets (29 pages,
             14 charts, 5 tables)
   Volume 4: Print Advertising and Public Relations Strategies (37 pages,
             24 charts, 5 tables)
   Volume 5: More Traffic at Your Booth (30 pages, 11 charts, 6 tables)
$1999 if purchased before October 31, 2006 at

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