For this year's Computex, Portwell, a Taiwanese manufacturer specialized in industrial computers, showcases a variety of Intel-based embedded solutions for digital signage, arcade game consoles, audio control equipments, aviation equipments and military grade rugged computing products. Most of these solutions uses Intel's Atom or Core i processors, with ARM or AMD solutions available on customer request; And what gets most paraded about this year are their Q7(Qseven) modules, which by Qseven standard, is 70x70mm in size. According to Portwell, Qseven modules have small form factor, and the ability to separate I/O from core computing components.
And the best thing about separation of I/O and core computing components is the fact output interface components on embedded system rarely changes, by introducing Qseven module, it is possible to provide more convenient and less-costly hardware upgrades. On top of that, electronic components on Qseven module are usually the most prone to failure or damage parts in an industrial computer assembly, in the case of failure, it would be a simple matter of replacing the Qseven module on-site without returning the whole assemble for repair service.
During the interview for this article, Portwell also reveals there are already some customers requesting ARM-based system with Android OS for digital signage, POS and etc. However, the major hurdle with this kind of solution lays in Android (Android 2.x and below) system's limitation of screen resolution, which restrict its use in applications that requires high definition displays.
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