ADLINK teams up with Kontron on the new microETXexpress form factor

ADLINK teams up with Kontron on the new microETXexpress form factor

Germany/Taiwan February 10th, 2006 – Kontron, a global leader in Embedded Computer Technology, today announced that ADLINK Technology, will join Kontron in supporting and promoting Kontron’s latest Computer on Module form factor initiative, called microETXexpress.

Kontron introduced the microETXexpress, a Computer-on-Module (COM) form factor, for the first time in November last year. The new microETXexpress form factor, based on ETXexpress and measuring just 95 x 95 mm, closely follows the already mainstream PICMG COM.0 COM Express specification that was released during the second half of 2005. Kontron and ADLINK have, in the meantime, recognized the demand in the marketplace to downsize the current COM Express form factor further while maintaining its feature set. As the only difference is a smaller board size, microETXexpress will technically be identical to COM Express - apart from size and number of mounting holes - and will in fact be interchangeable with existing COM Express designs. Only the addition of one extra mounting hole in the top right corner has to be considered. ADLINK and Kontron will work intensively within the PICMG COM Express sub committee to have the new 95 x 95 form factor included as an extension to the existing PICMG COM.0 COM Express specification.

This renewed cooperation between Kontron and ADLINK (earlier last year the two agreed to jointly promote ETXexpress) over an embedded form factor will again cover combined brand marketing, shared use of trade names, and will ensure compatibility of microETXexpress branded products.

“ADLINK’s collaboration with Kontron over standards will provide large and small manufacturers with a reliable foundation to quickly bring high performance and feature rich COM based products to the market. Together with Kontron we will take this fast growing market segment, of standardized core modules for customized designs, to a whole new level”, states Henk van Bremen, Product Director of Embedded Computing for ADLINK Technology.

"To have an industry leader like ADLINK Technology participate in our microETXexpress promotion, will ensure strong brand recognition in the embedded marketplace" says Dirk Finstel, CEO Sales & Marketing, Kontron Embedded Modules. "Cooperation will ensure that microETXexpress and ETXexpress will rapidly become as well accepted as Kontron’s own open standard, ETX, is today", concludes Finstel.

Kontron is actively looking for more leading companies to collaborate on microETXexpress to create broad market acceptance and assure fast market penetration and growth.

The ultimate goal of the microETXexpress form factor is to build a PCI Express based COM on the smallest possible form factor. However the current objective of microETXexpress is also to facilitate PCI-only designs on the same form factor in a technological transition period. Although microETXexpress’ pin definition will follow COM Express 100%, the actual inclusion of PCI Express signals will not be mandatory. So, then why the need for yet another form factor based on PCI, apparently alongside ETX? The reason for this is that the ETX form factor, based on PCI/ISA, was defined more than 5 years ago and that its pinout does not allow for modern peripheral signals such as multiple USB 2.0, LPC etc. Though ETX will live on for many years supporting legacy applications, microETXexpress will offer a richer, more up-to-date feature set on an even smaller board. microETXexpress will provide an upgrade path to the future and at the same time offer scalability by allowing mixing and matching of PCI-only and PCI with PCI Express-based designs on a single carrier board. Both Kontron and ADLINK have therefore high expectations for the success of microETXexpress-based products.

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