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November 15, 2010

Advantech Announces COM Modules that Support COM.0 Revision 2.0

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Advantech (News - Alert), a provider of embedded platform and integration services, announced a new series of Computer-On-Modules or “COM” that support the new COM 2.0 specification.

The new COM Express COM.0 Revision 2.0 by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group or “PICMG (News - Alert)” takes Computer-on-Modules into a new era with smaller footprints and expanded pin-outs, company officials claimed.

More specifically, the COM.0 Revision 2.0 specification has dropped legacy interface and adopted two new pin-outs that make space for future technology trends. Additionally it has phased out legacy digital signaling like Parallel ATA and PCI (News - Alert) to increase more I/O connects for Digital Displays, Serial ATA, PCI Express, USB 3.0 and other future-proof interface types.

The new COM modules support advanced high speed I/O like SATA 3 and USB 3.0 and allows providing volume data transmission capability for multimedia applications, and these new optimizations will make possible smaller form factors.

COM Revision 2.0 features dedicated pins for new Digital Display Interfaces or “DDI.” Without additional signal processing, DDI eliminates cable disorder and provides better anti-noise and exquisite resolution, compared with traditional analog signal interfaces, according to company officials.

The type 6 pin-outs help extend the multi-display requirements by up to 3 DDI links. It also offers improved power efficiency by bringing the benefit of reduced maximum input power to 137 watt for types 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 68 watt for type 1, and 10. As a result, additional power pins can be reused for the above I/O extensions.

COM Revision 2.0 also includes a new software extension called Embedded Application Programming Interface or “EAPI.” This new Embedded API is a uniform software interface for module configuration and management and was defined inversion 1.0 from the PICMG group to unify various software interfaces from different COM suppliers, according to company officials.

Another API utility, called iManager, allows easier interoperability of COM products, enabling users to manage System Information, Watchdog Timer, I2C Bus, Flat Panel Brightness Control, User Storage Area, GPIO Access and more features, the company said. Based on EAPI 1.0 standard iManager provides better service to the embedded market.

Advantech also announced plans to launch a series of products compliant with COM 2.0 specifications over the next few months.

Earlier in Oct., Advantech announced a new range of embedded boards based on the latest generation of Intel (News - Alert) Atom network processors E6xx series. The new boards range from COM and PC/104 CPU modules, to 3.5" Single Board Computers or “SBC,” according to company officials.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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