Altium expands versatility of Altium Innovation Station

4th April 2008
ES Admin
Altium Limited, a developer of unified electronic product development solutions, continues to expand its range of daughter boards for the Altium Innovation Station and its Desktop NanoBoard. Following hot on the heels of its recently announced Altium Innovation Station – which combines the Altium Designer electronics design software and the Desktop NanoBoard –Altium has released a new plug-in daughter board hosting a Xilinx Virtex-4 high-performance FPGA.
It joins the Xilinx SpartanTM-3, Altera CycloneTM II and Lattice ECPTM devices in the daughter board range for the Desktop NanoBoard development platform. More daughter boards and peripheral boards are planned for release over the coming months.

Altium's Xilinx Virtex-4 daughter board provides an XC4VLX25-10FF668C FPGA and a range of on-board memories. As with all daughter boards available from Altium, it can be used with either the new Desktop NanoBoard NB2DSK01 or the previous-generation NanoBoard-NB1.

Altium believes that the future of electronics design lies in moving all core functionality into intelligence programmed into a product, putting this intelligence at the centre of the electronics design process. Designers can now focus on functionality first, without the need to fix hardware at the start of a design.

Adding to the range of daughter boards available to designers increases their options. Using these daughter boards as part of the Altium Innovation Station, they can create designs in different programmable devices and deploy them on the desktop NanoBoard for testing, debugging, analysis and redesign. They can test on the fly, ensuring that they have the most effective design on the best possible choice of programmable device. The various plug-in daughter boards and peripheral boards can be swapped on the NanoBoard during development, and Altium Designer will automatically reconfigure projects to allow designers to use the new hardware and devices. This means that designers are free to explore alternative design solutions without the traditional time and cost penalties associated with custom hardware redesigns.

This ‘soft’ approach to design lets hardware and software be developed in parallel. Design cycles are shortened, the core functionality of a device remains secure from copying, and it can be easily updated even after the final hardware is manufactured. Companies can continue to add value and differentiation to their products with updates, additional features and services developed throughout the life of the product.

“The time has gone when companies could hope to sustain product differentiation by putting functionality into fixed hardware. Programming, rather than manufacturing intelligence into a device, is the only way to protect the unique functionality of a product in today’s globalized industry,” comments Nick Martin, CEO of Altium. “Altium is providing the tools to let all designers innovate in this new marketplace by turning traditional electronics design inside out. Altium Designer and the NanoBoard allow electronic product developers to unlock the potential of large-scale programmable devices such as the Xilinx Virtex-4, and build intelligent, connected products that can be easily updated to create and maintain market differentiation over the long term.”

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