Can MCU Suppliers Get Embedded Developers Off the Ground Floor?Can MCU Suppliers Get Embedded Developers Off the Ground Floor?
December 3, 2015
Embedded software development can feel a lot like an episode of "The Twilight Zone." A developer gets a new project; thinks up the design; develops the low-level microcontroller drivers, middleware, and application code; and then spends a fair amount of time certifying and testing the system. At the moment the product goes out the door, a time loop starts on another product and developers begin developing low-level MCU drivers, middleware, etc.
What makes developing embedded software a frustrating experience is that while a new product has cool features and technologies that need to be explored and developed, much of the development cycle is spent learning the low-level MCU hardware and writing drivers. Low-level firmware development is undoubtedly fun, but it is time-consuming to dig through those 2,000-page manuals, and it is a highly error-prone process.
One of the problems with the conventional approach is that engineers all over the world are repeating the exact same driver development, focused on reinventing the wheel. The focus on driver development and the MCU takes the focus and time away from product feature differentiation and design innovation. In a world where first-to-market is critical, wasting months to simply get a processor up and running with drivers is not the recipe for success.
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