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Applying the X factor

Less means more in the embedded computer industry. By Philip Ling.

Creating completely original designs today is a luxury few can afford. It isn't just the lack of time available – something to which all design engineers can relate – but it could be that the risk involved might be too great a burden for some companies to shoulder in today's fiercely competitive environment.

Of course, there will always be room for innovation, where commercial success rests as much with the idea as with its implementation. And here, hopefully, the pressure of faster design cycles will normally be relaxed, at least a little. For these designs, the ones taking their first tentative steps on the product life cycle, the pleasures of cost optimisation and production engineering are the least of the worries.

But for established product lines, where the hard work has been done, extending the product life cycle is often essential in order to maximise the return on the time and effort invested in it. This may come down to customising an existing design, or reusing an existing design in a different format. Often, the best bits of a number of proven designs can be reused to create a differentiated product but with low risk.

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Author
Graham Pitcher

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