Choosing an Operating system for Embedded systems

An embedded system is a special purpose computer designed to perform dedicated tasks, rather than multiple tasks. There is an increase in popularity of embedded systems as they take care of everything such as – display, computing, communication etc. Whether it is entertainment, education, science or communication, they span across different aspects of modern life. Being a combination of both hardware and software, embedded systems perform a specific task or set of tasks within a large system.

With more performance, graphic capabilities, GUI enabled touch screen devices and wider range of applications —– embedded systems with Android/Linux operating systems have become a great alternative. The embedded operating systems are targeted for CPU architecture and hence, an improper OS can have a negative impact on different aspects of project development such as – durability, licensing cost, product development etc.

In this post, we’ll take a look at different parameters to consider while choosing the right OS for embedded systems.

Connectivity and UI

Linux and Android are two powerful operating systems used in most of the embedded systems today. Selection between the two will depend completely on the usage and requirement. For instance – If you want better wireless connectivity and graphics interface, you might consider Android OS over Linux. Linux OS can do everything that Android OS can do. However, Linux comes with a complex flow and it might be difficult for a beginner to understand it. But, it can produce better results — once understood.

Power management

This is another important metric that measure the performance of embedded system. The operating system you choose should provide support for power management and supply different power management techniques. Both Android and Linux supports effective power management compared to real time operating systems.

Responsiveness

Real time performance is one of the key requirements of mission critical applications. Operating system vendors use terms such as – soft and hard to describe the responsiveness of operating systems. Real time performance does not mean that the OS is fast, but is predictable. Linux is less responsive compared to Android and there are many issues in Linux OS that affect performance of embedded device.

Cost

The cost of android and Linux operating tends to remain same, as both are open source platforms. A proprietary OS such as windows would increase the cost of each product as it require royalty to be paid for every product.

The bottom line is – At first, android seems to be an odd choice, but becomes an appropriate choice — as it is already an embedded OS.  Choosing the right OS could reduce the development and testing time significantly. Additionally, it helps in developing a quality product and launching it in the market on time.

About Inforce Computing

Inforce computing has been providing diverse range of services for real time embedded systems since 2010. Our products support embedded application development with high quality RTOS, protocol stacks and embedded databases across Android and Linux platforms. We offer state-of-art embedded solutions for various industry segments such as – video conferencing, medical imaging, robotics, drones, etc. We rely on cutting edge technologies that are based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors to provide reliable embedded hardware and software solutions.