The growth of products development that integrate programmable Digital Signal Processor is a driving-force for improving the embedded software development process. Digital Signal processing based product development represent some difficult challenges for manufacturers. Many software development embedded process trends can be anticipated as the industry wants to overcome these difficulties.
The programmable Digital Signal Processor has become a very advantageous computing engine to execute embedded software development. Both the number and the difficulty of digital signal processing-enabled products are growing exponentially. Software development cost and time-to-market are critical issues for the software development industry, Most Digital signal processing software is embedded software. Manufacturers typically install product-specific software prior to sale. Most users do not realize they are executing software or even using a digital signal processing when they use the product. The embedded digital signal processing software developer faces many unique challenges beyond those of classical software development. The dominant role and unique challenges of embedded digital signal processing will force the industry to evolve better ways of addressing these unique challenges.
The Era of Digital Signal Processing is now common in our everyday life. In 1997, the booming mobile company sold more wireless telephone handsets than the PC industry sold computers. In a modern era wireless handset, much of this signal processing is done digitally, translating the analog electrical signals into digital representations and performing mathematical signal-processing operations on them using digital arithmetic and Boolean logic. Most modern handsets incorporate at least one programmable digital signal processing, and usually other micro-controllers and custom digital signal processing logic in a heterogeneous architecture.
Programmability shows the implementing faster to market. The manufacturer could design more complex and sophisticated signal processing functions into the device in a shorter amount of time than he could using Application Specific Integrated Circuits. Programmability allows for re-usability, which in turn means quicker bug fixes and faster incorporation of new functional improvements. The programmable digital signal processing shows the company to implement new and better communications standards and protocols very quickly, and is one of the reasons for this industry rapid growth.
Nowadays wireless mobile contain on the order of 100- 300K lines-of-code, including code for all devices. 3rd Generation (3G) handsets mobile device may contain as many as 2-4M lines of code. For comparison, Many other digital signal processing applications are seeing similar growth increase. Just some examples with similar embedded software complexity are Broadband residential and small gateways, commercial and digital cameras, and portable digital device. The Embedded Software Challenge Many new applications of programmable digital signal processing will contain embedded software. In the ways, the software development challenge for embedded software mirrors that of desktop application development. However, in many ways, embedded software development is more challenging. Software development productivity must increase to satisfy the demand for more complex functionality with lower cost and less time-to-market.
Software development technology and tools for these devices must support this diversity, complexity and heterogeneous multi-processor development and debug environments with very little increase in code size or code efficiency over a custom software approach. As with all software, overall system reliability must improve, in spite of the increasing complexity.
The challenges of embedded software development are creating a very entrepreneurial environment for solutions. Many new innovations in software development will rise in the next upcomming years to meet these challenges.