Top Embedded Distributors Launch New Offerings

Jan. 10, 2013
The industry’s top two distributors make headlines with new tools for embedded design customers.

As 2012 came to a close, Arrow Electronics and Avnet Electronics Marketing were busy adding to their growing lines of embedded design products and solutions. The industry’s top two distributors announced new partnerships and the launch of enhanced online design tools to help embedded customers find the best solutions to their design challenges even faster.

Arrow Aims At Altia

In a move to broaden its software tool offering, Arrow signed a new agreement with Altia Inc. to distribute the company’s suite of user interface development tools to customers throughout North America. Altia offers a concept-to-code tool suite that allows designers to create custom graphical user interfaces (GUIs) without hand coding and generate graphics code for a wide range of industry-leading hardware targets. The company says its mission is to help customers get the best user interface on the right fit, right priced hardware.

“This necessitates the support of a wide range of MCU and MPU platforms from all the different silicon providers. Our approach helps manufacturers save significant BOM [bill of materials] costs while offering a competitive advantage on the user experience,” says Mike Juran, Altia’s CEO, adding that Arrow’s broad silicon vendor base is critical to helping the company reach that goal.

“An increasing percentage of embedded systems now have a display and it is growing, propelled by systems for medical, building control, automation and industrial control, and retail and information kiosks. Our customers need simple, intuitive, yet stylized graphical interfaces for these products,” adds Aiden Mitchell, Arrow’s director of supplier marketing. “Altia provides our customers a single tool suite that spans our major processor and FPGA lines for the deployment of a great GUI experience.”

Arrow also launched Arrow Cloud Connect, a tool for developing designs based on the ARM Cortex-MO+ designs and machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. Featuring technology from Freescale Semiconductor and Digi International, the free development environment helps designers “realize the potential of adding connectivity to their products,” according to the distributor.

The tool provides an online integrated development environment for users to write, compile, and program code to Freescale’s development platform for Kinetis L series microcontroller units (MCUs). Engineers can also connect to Digi’s iDigi Device Cloud through a software gateway, providing instant cloud connectivity to devices and making it easier to develop applications using remote connected devices, remotely update firmware, and troubleshoot problems during development.

Avnet Tries On Red Hat

Avnet EM added to its embedded software and services portfolio through a new agreement with Red Hat Inc. to provide a range of products to customers in the Americas. Through its Avnet Embedded business, the distributor will provide Red Hat’s Embedded Linux, JBoss Middleware solutions, Red Hat Developer Support, and JBoss Developer Support.

“Red Hat is a recognized leader in open-source enterprise software and embedded Linux,” said Chuck Kostalnick, senior vice president for Avnet Embedded. “The addition of Red Hat to Avnet’s embedded software and service portfolio substantially enhances our value proposition for providing comprehensive support across our customers’ entire solution stack.”

Avnet also marked a key milestone during the fall, as its Embedded Software Store (ESS) celebrated its first anniversary. A partnership with semiconductor IP provider ARM, ESS is an e-commerce Web site and online information center for the embedded community featuring nearly 1000 products from 24 vendors including DSP Concepts, InterNiche Technologies, Motomic Software, RoweBots, and Timesys.

“The ESS allows embedded software developers to leverage the ARM and Avnet ecosystems to quickly acquire industry-proven software IP blocks, decreasing their time-to market,” says Tim Barber, senior vice president, design chain global business development for Avnet EM. “Having a variety of reliable off-the-shelf solutions complements any in-house designs teams’ efforts.”

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About the Author

Victoria Fraza Kickham | Distribution Editor

Victoria Kickham is the distribution editor for Electronic Design magazine, SourceESB and, where she covers issues related to the electronics supply chain. Victoria started out as a general assignment reporter for several Boston-area newspapers before joining Industrial Distribution magazine, where she spent 14 years covering industrial markets. She served as ID’s managing editor from 2000 to 2010. Victoria has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University.