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Wednesday, October 22, 2003
New Flash Disk Standard for Embedded Single Board Computers Created by Industry Leaders Advantech, M-Systems and PQI


M-Systems and PQI today announced the creation of a new USB 2.0-based flash disk standard for embedded single board computers (SBCs). The advantages of the high-speed performance of the USB 2.0 bus are currently used for a wide set of applications. Well known and highly successful is the key-chain flash disk drive used for personal, portable storage devices which plug into the USB port.

The advantages of the high-speed performance of the USB 2.0 bus are currently used for a wide set of applications. Well known and highly successful is the key-chain flash disk drive used for personal, portable storage devices which plug into the USB port.

The embedded world is now moving to take advantage of the USB bus for flash storage as well. Internal USB 2.0 flash disks, which have been designed for embedded applications, are now available.

In order to assist quick and smooth penetration of an internal USB based storage device, Advantech, PQI and M-Systems have agreed on a world-wide industry standard connector and form factors for the Single Board Computer (SBC) market and eventually for mother board manufactures.

The new Embedded USB standard connector was carefully built to enable board manufactures to design an optimal provision for internal USB flash disks. Both horizontal and vertical form factors were defined to take into consideration the wide variety of needs of the single board computer market. Factors such as the need for ruggedness and optimal space usage, and a variety of capacities were taken into account.

"The new standard is a big step towards the fast adoption of USB in the SBC market. It reduces the design cost and minimizes the risk by securing second source for current and future products," said K.C. Liu, CEO, Advantech. "It is a win-win situation for all parties involved in the standard definition and particularly good news for the embedded SBC market."

The embedded market is currently suffering from the performance limitation imposed by the IDE and CompactFlash-based flash disks. The market now requires higher performance and higher capacity to support larger OSs, heavier, GUI-based applications, a wide variety of installed applications and local data storage.

"The ease and comfort of adopting internal USB flash disks opens up the opportunities for embedded applications, which can now enjoy the high speed USB 2.0 performance. With M-Systems' new USB-based uDiskOnChip, which leverages the proven TrueFFS flash file system for maximum reliability and enables security enabling functions, we expect an expansion of the total available market for M-Systems DiskOnChip products," said David Tolub vice president and co-manager of M-Systems' DiskOnChip business unit.

"While the legacy IDE bus frequently cannot deliver to the requirements of today, embedded systems designers are looking to USB 2.0 as the next breakthrough in embedded flash storage," said Jance Lu, chairman, PQI. "PQI's USB DiskOnModule is therefore expanding our traditional offering to the market."

With the new world-wide standard for embedded USB flash products defined and jointly promoted by Advantech, PQI and M-Systems, the companies expect greater market focus to be on product merits rather than on standards.


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