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Android in Embedded: The Future is Now?
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Android in Embedded: The Future is Now?

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Android has been a force in the mobile space since shortly after its debut in late 2008 on the HTC Dream smartphone. Between the beginning of 2010 and February 2012, daily activations of Android......

Android has been a force in the mobile space since shortly after its debut in late 2008 on the HTC Dream smartphone. Between the beginning of 2010 and February 2012, daily activations of Android grew from 60,000 to 850,000 – a remarkably steep growth trajectory. What is truly remarkable, however, is that these rates do not even tell the full story of Android's growth. Google's figures take into account only those devices that have been connected via mobile networks, meaning that officially reported activations do not include devices such as WiFi-only tablets, eReaders, or the millions of other Android-based products that have already been deployed in a number of different areas. In this QuickCast, VDC’s Jared Weiner discusses why Android is getting so much attention and some of the challenges associated with adoption.

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  • The firm is organized around six practices, each with its own focused area of coverage, but all committed to the firm’s core philosophy.
  • Thank you for the introduction, Ellie.A quick rundown of our agenda for today: first I’m going to talk a little bit about why Android has become an attractive solution for embedded devices. Next I will summarize some of our research findings around unit shipments of Android-based devices before getting into a brief discussion about one of the key inhibitors to the adoption of Android in embedded: security. Lastly, I will wrap things up with an overview of some of the work we’ve been doing here at VDC.
  • Android has been a force in the mobile space since shortly after its debut in late 2008 on the HTC Dream smartphone. Between the beginning of 2010 and February 2012, daily activations of Android – as reported by Google’s Andy Rubin – grew from 60,000 to 850,000. Clearly a remarkably steep growth trajectory.What is truly remarkable, however, is that these rates do not even tell the full story of Android’s growth. Google’s figures take into account only those devices that have been connected via mobile networks, meaning that officially reported activations do not include devices such as WiFi-only tablets, eReaders, or the millions of other Android-based products that have already been deployed in a number of different areas. But more on these other devices in a moment. First, I’d like to talk a little bit about why Android is garnering so much attention from the embedded space.Android’s UI capabilities, arguably the platform’s most important characteristic, enable engineers to create a feature-rich interface that does not require the time and effort of traditional GUI programming. Of course, Android’s appeal is also a function of its integrated software stack, which includes audio, Bluetooth, camera, GPS, radio, WiFi, and other functionality. From a business model standpoint, Google’s use of the Apache License for Android – which enables OEMsto deploy Android while preserving the proprietary nature of any added code – has contributed to its growth, though the platform being “free” is certainly debatable. Together, these factors have stimulated the continued expansion of a vast ecosystem of developers and applications available to engineers using Android.As this ecosystem has expanded, so to has the interest in repurposing the platform for use beyond the markets (namely smartphones and tablets) for which it was initially intended. Android’s strengths make it a particularly attractive option for devices that place a premium on connectivity, sophisticated user interaction, high-definition graphics, and application availability. Key embedded software suppliers such as eSOL, Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, Viosoft, and Wind River all offer solutions targeting Android’s transition to other verticals.
  • So where are we today with regard to Android’s penetration in other areas?Well, according to our research, less than 5% of all Android-based unit shipments in 2011 were products other than smartphones, tablets, and eReaders. Among those device classes included within these estimates are military communication devices, medical devices, and connected car systems.Because of Android’s many pre-integrated components – GPS, wireless radio, camera – the platform is a logical solution for mobile communication devices used by the military. These types of communication devices – such as a wearable rugged computer made by GD Itronix– comprised slightly more than 1% of this market in 2011. Clearly, the use of Android within military communication devices is still in its infancy, with the potential security vulnerabilities associated with an open source platform – which I will cover in a little more detail in a moment – having contributed to the relatively slow rate of adoption thus far.Next we have medical devices. When Android was first discussed as a potential fit within non-consumer devices, the medical device market was frequently cited as an area that would benefit from the user interface and graphics capabilities of the platform. Despite this interest, few OEMs have elected to include Android in their designs, and initial uptake has been slow.VDC believes that a reluctance to augment legacy designs to include Android and complications around deploying the platform in devices with real-time requirements have been the primary inhibitors to broader adoption of Android within this market. However, new use cases such as patient entertainment systems continue to emerge.The strengths of Android make the platform a strong fit in a wide range of product categories. To date, Android has been deployed in devices ranging from televisions and set-top boxes to HMI applications in the industrial space, digital signage solutions, watches, and even ski goggles.As the effectiveness of Android beyond smartphones and tablets becomes more readily accepted, we believe new use cases for Android will continue to emerge and fuel the platform’s growth path.However, many challenges still remain.
  • As I mentioned a moment ago, security is one of those challenges. While security has traditionally been viewed as a requirement for government and/or military-based projects, the mounting complexity and connectivity of today’s embedded designs have driven security concerns to the forefront of many development projects. Cyber-threats have emerged from many different channels and have served to alter the way engineers think about the challenges of assuring software security.With regard to Android, the platform’s openness has been widely regarded as both a blessing and a curse. While this openness has certainly been beneficial toward the creation and expansion of the vast Google Play marketplace, the security implications have in many cases prevented Android devices from being utilized in various government and enterprise environments. Of course, security concerns have also played a role in what to this point has been a relatively low rate of adoption of Android beyond the mobile and consumer electronics industries.Though Android does have some unique security issues, in many ways the platform presents the same risks as any other. Simply put, the more successful and widely adopted a platform becomes, the larger the target on its back. However, Android engineers can utilize a number of different strategies to combat security issues, a few of which include: Sandboxing, kernel lock down, secure booting, and hardware-based security technologies such as the ARM TrustZone.The sandboxing concept is one that has gained a great deal of recent attention, with many software vendors embracing virtualization solutions – which allow for secure partitioning of guest operating systems – as part of their embedded and/or mobile strategies.Another potential solution to Android security concerns is Security Enhanced Android, a specialized version of the platform based on SE Linux which was introduced by the National Security Agency this past January. Referred to more commonly as “hardened” Android, this implementation of the platform is intended to limit the damage caused by malicious applications by addressing critical security gaps. VDC believes that SE Android, though still in its early stages, may ultimately help drive the adoption of Android within embedded devices with security requirements above and beyond those of typical smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics products.
  • So that will wrap up our discussion for today.I did want to take a moment to mention two of our main ongoing research services. Our coverage of the embedded software market includes analysis of the embedded/real-time operating system and development tools markets, and also includes insights and analyses around topics such as multicore, virtualization, and embedded security.Among the key areas of focus within VDC’s software and system lifecycle management tools research are software and system modeling tools, automated test and verification tools, and requirements management tools.
  • Also, new in 2012 is VDC’s Voice of the Customer series. Our embedded practices will focus on two primary topics: Security & the Internet of Things, and Rich Media & Big Data in Embedded Systems.
  • Thank you for taking the time to be with us here today.If you have any questions about this quickcast or any of our ongoing research, please do not hesitate to contact us.Thanks again and have a great day.

Transcript

  • 1. Embedded Software & Tools Practice QuickCast Android in Embedded: The Future is Now? June 2012 An Update on Android’s Penetration in Embedded Systems By: Jared Weiner – Analyst © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Toolsvdcresearch.com
  • 2. Recording Available A full audio recording is available for download at: http://vdcresearch.com/market_research/embedded_software/freeresearch.aspx © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Toolsvdcresearch.com
  • 3. About Us Market Intelligence for Technology Vendors & Investors  Direct-Contact Primary Market Research  Deeply Segmented Data  Expert Insights  Validated Results Custom Consulting Services for Your Most Critical Business Decisions  Research-Based Consulting  Transparent Tools & Methodology o Highly Customized Survey Guides & Output Templates o Sophisticated Market Estimate & Forecast Models o Detailed, Flexible Stakeholder Maps & Profiles o Industry Development Scenarios o Market Opportunity Fit Screening, Rating & Ranking © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Toolsvdcresearch.com
  • 4. Our Core Coverage Areas AutoID & Transaction Automation Embedded Hardware & Systems Embedded Software & Tools Mobile & Wireless © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Toolsvdcresearch.com
  • 5. Ways to Work With UsOur market research is the basis for the many other ways that VDC can help you to grow your business. Our clients rely on us toprovide actionable insights that support their most important strategic initiatives including: corporate development projects,opportunity assessments and lead generation programs. © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 6. Today’s Speaker Jared Weiner Analyst, Embedded Software & Tools Jared supports all of the Embedded Software and Tools practice’s major research programs and is a contributor on custom research and consulting engagements. His work includes coverage of embedded operating systems, software development tools, modeling and test tools, and more. He has additional research experience in education and financial services. Jared received an MBA from Babson College in 2007, and graduated from Bentley College in 2002 with a BS in Information Design and Corporate Communication.For complimentary insights and marketing data: http://blog.vdcresearch.com/embedded_sw/ © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 7. Today’s Agenda Why Android? Market Estimates Security Concerns 2012 Research Programs Contact Information © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Toolsvdcresearch.com vdcresearch.com
  • 8. Why Android?UI, vast ecosystem among primary drivers  User interface  Pre-integrated features/capabilities  Business model  EcosystemPortions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 9. Market EstimatesMinimal shipments beyond consumer-facing devices Android-based Devices in 2011, Segmented by Device Class (Percent of Units) Tablets, 10% Military Communication Devices, 1% Medical eReaders, 9% Devices, 0.5% Connected Car Systems, 0.5% Other, 4% Smartphones, 77% Other, 2% © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 10. Security ConcernsWill security remain a major barrier?  Industry-wide security concerns mounting  Openness of Android amplifies concerns  Design strategies can address these issues  SE Android may be another solution © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 11. 2012 Research ProgramsDiverse technology coverage with expert analysisStrategic Insights 2012: Embedded Software MarketOpportunities & Forecasts Through 2014 o Track 1: Fast Forward: Insight for Leaders o Track 2: Embedded Software Engineering Technologies o Track 3: Embedded Systems Engineering Survey Data o Track 4: Vertical MarketsSoftware & System Lifecycle Management ToolsOpportunities & Forecast Through 2014 o Software & System Modeling Tools o Automated Test & Verification Tools o Requirements Management / Definition & Source / Change / Configuration Management Tools o Agile in Embedded & Enterprise Systems o Product Lifecycle Management / Application Lifecycle Management Integration – An Industry Brief o VDC Target Competitor Maps © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 12. 2012 Research Programs (cont’d)New in 2012 – Voice of the CustomerVoice of the Customer: Security & The Internet of ThingsFormulate & Implement a Best-in-Class Security Strategy o Quarterly Report 1: Device Manufacturers & OEMs’ Security Technology Adoption Trends, Budgets & Buying o Quarterly Report 2: Consumer Preferences & Perceptions Analysis o Quarterly Report 3: Internet of Things: Security Considerations for Enterprise IT & ISPs o Quarterly Report 4: Vendor SpotlightsVoice of the Customer: Rich Media & Big Data in Embedded SystemsIdentify Emerging Opportunities From the Next Generation of Embedded Systems o Quarterly Report 1: Rich Media & Data Content – Trends, Drivers & Solutions o Quarterly Report 2: Cloud Services & Analytics Business Opportunities o Quarterly Report 3: OEM Budgets & Spending o Quarterly Report 4: Vendor Spotlights © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com
  • 13. Thank You for Attending this VDC QuickCastFor more information please contact: Michael Collette – VP Sales & Enterprise Accounts info@vdcresearch.com | 508.653.9000 x112 Chris Rommel – Vice President, Embedded Hardware & Software Stephen Balacco – Director, Embedded Software & Tools André Girard – Senior Analyst, Embedded Software & Tools Jared Weiner – Analyst, Embedded Software & ToolsFor complimentary insights and marketing data: http://blog.vdcresearch.com/embedded_sw/ © 2012 VDC Research QuickCast Embedded Software & Tools vdcresearch.com