IAR Unveils PowerPac Middleware for Small Embedded Systems

IAR Systems (STO:IAR) announces the launch of its new middleware family, IAR PowerPac, which is intended to complete the company’s product offering for the embedded systems developer. IAR PowerPac is a fully featured real-time operating system (RTOS) combined with a high performance file system.

With a small (2kB) memory footprint and an affordable licensing model, the IAR PowerPac RTOS is particularly aimed at the low-cost ARM-powered microcontroller market. Further products in the IAR PowerPac family are planned, and will address a comprehensive range of target devices.

32-bit microcontrollers are becoming more affordable for a wide range of applications, while at the same time software and hardware complexity continues to grow, and this trend has generated an increasing need for a real-time multitasking system. Until now the RTOS market for MCUs has been a relatively fragmented one, with very few fully integrated offerings available. Additionally developers of small embedded systems have been reluctant to buy a stand-alone RTOS; in fact many have not been using an RTOS at all, either because they prefer to build their own task scheduler or because they believe they either don’t need or can’t afford one. However, there are several compelling reasons for using an RTOS: in addition to providing real-time multitasking capability, the task-oriented design process imposed by an RTOS is cleaner and better organised than in a system without an RTOS; the RTOS promotes code reuse, and provides a useful service to the application by offering clean hooks to middleware and by shortening development time. The quality of the application is also ensured by the predictable response times that are achieved in time-critical applications. This is the niche that IAR PowerPac has been developed to fill.

IAR PowerPac features re-emptive scheduling as well as round-robin scheduling, handling up to 255 priorities with an unlimited number of tasks, semaphores, mailboxes and software timers. Full interrupt support is provided, and zero interrupt latency time is a key benefit. Nested interrupts are permitted, and very fast context switch times can be achieved. The IAR PowerPac File System is MS-DOS/MS-Windows compatible, with FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 support as well as support for multiple device drivers and multiple media, including: RAM disk; MMC; SD; CompactFlash; IDE; SMC; and NOR/NAND flashes. The highly modular structure helps to minimise memory consumption.

The innovative business model under which IAR PowerPac is licensed is similar to that of IAR Embedded Workbench, IAR Systems’ flagship compiler, with which IAR PowerPac is tightly integrated. In addition to a single-user licence, with an option to include source code, IAR Systems is also introducing the concept of a group licence suitable for development teams of up to 20 developers, which also includes full source code of the product. The per-seat licensing fee is the only fee associated with using IAR PowerPac; there are no royalties or fees connected to projects, end-user products/product families or production volume. This makes investing in IAR PowerPac a truly low-risk licensing model, since all associated licensing costs are known in advance.

IAR PowerPac for ARM is available from IAR Systems and its worldwide network of sales representatives. An evaluation version of IAR PowerPac is available for download from www.iar.com from 20 November 2006.

IAR Systems, IAR Embedded Workbench, C-SPY, IAR MakeApp, visualSTATE, From Idea to Target, IAR KickStart Kit, IAR Advanced Development Kit and IAR PowerPac. J-Link and J-Trace are trademarks licensed to IAR Systems AB.

About IAR Systems
IAR Systems is a world-leading provider of embedded development tools:

  • IAR Embedded Workbench(R)—integrated development environment with C/C++ compiler and debugger supporting about 30 different 8-, 16-, and 32-bit devices
  • visualSTATE(R)—state chart design tool for development of event-driven systems
  • IAR KickStart Kit(TM)—complete software and hardware evaluation environment available for selected targets
  • IAR Advanced Development Kit— integrated suite containing all the necessary components for full product development

IAR Systems’ customers represent many different market segments such as telecommunications, industrial automation and the automotive industry. The company was founded in 1983 and is part of the Nocom Group since 2005. IAR Systems operates in the US, China, Japan, Germany, the UK, Sweden and Brazil as well as through a large net of distributors all over the world.