embedded.com (January 6, 2014)
8- and 16-bit microcontrollers presently dominate the market for connectivity to wirelessly untethered embedded devices and sensors (i.e., the Internet of Things), and I am not convinced that 32-bit MCUs, no matter how cheap they become, will ever match the ubiquity of their smaller brethren in such designs.
In Jack Ganssle’s column titled “Is 8 bits dying?” he reviews all the reasons why 32-bit CPU (and ARM) dominance is likely but not certain, and warns that although ARM Ltd. is in top-dog position at this time, it may not always be so.
He outlined a number of reasons why it could be blind-sided by some unforeseen nemesis, probably an open source microcontroller architecture. One reason, he suggests, is that ARM collects a tax on each part sold, and even if all other costs were zeroed out, these devices can’t compete with 8- and 16-bitters in the most price sensitive applications.
I agree with him on this, and I think the challenge to ARM’s dominance is most likely to occur in the context of the design challenges for adding Internet Protocol to IoT devices.
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