Ready-made CPU modules are making increasing sense for handling technology complexity and unpredictable market conditions.
Today's 16 and 32-bit microcontrollers have become so complicated that growing numbers of embedded developers are questioning whether it's worthwhile building a system from scratch or whether they'd be better off buying-in the more tricky bits ready-made. The continuing unpredictable market conditions are adding further pressures to examine what makes sense to do in-house.
One option is to just buy all the hardware off-the-shelf and concentrate on the application. Another idea is to extend the life of a design by adopting a standard platform that you can re-use for various different projects. Particularly interesting is the rise of high-density CPU modules. These are CPUs plus sub-systems that come on a tiny board or, for higher volumes, a multi chip module (MCM) that can be treated like a big chip. The advantage is that someone else has done the difficult part of the design and so you can often get away with a relatively simple PCB for the rest of the system.
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