4/21/2003 - Ampro Computers, Inc., the inventor and leading supplier of CPU modules and single board computers (SBCs) for non-backplane embedded systems, announced the immediate support for Windows CE .NET on six Ampro x86 and RISC CPUs, renewing its commitment to the Microsoft Windows CE embedded operating system. Ampro brings 20 years of rugged electronics design and manufacturing experience along with a 5-year product lifecycle policy enable a new generation of long-life video-based applications such as industrial displays and point-of-sale terminals. These off-the-shelf CPU / software solutions satisfy many unique size and cost requirements of the embedded market, enabling product line strategies which leverage common hardware and software building blocks.
Other target markets for Ampro's products include indoor and outdoor advertising displays, transaction terminals for gas pumps and retail check-out counters, toll booths, ATM machines, transportation and airport signs, and other systems which require an embedded computer with a graphical user interface.
"Whether x86 or RISC, we provide more ways for industrial OEMs to get robust Windows CE-based systems to market quickly," said Paul Rosenfeld, Ampro's CTO. "Designers can start their project with proven hardware and a complete set of device drivers which have been tested together. Ampro has made a considerable investment in software to provide a Windows CE-based solution that goes beyond the typical Ethernet and serial port capability to support all of the peripherals on our boards. Best of all, OEMs can now look beyond the myriad of reference designs on the market to Ampro's rugged CPUs and single board computers that are already in volume production."
"We are delighted that Ampro is offering Windows CE .NET-based products to customers building rugged embedded devices with leading flexibly and functionality," said Keith White, senior director of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "Ampro's experience developing and supporting complex device drivers is a valuable customer resource that helps create a range of video-based Windows Powered devices."
Ampro provides complete Windows CE-based board support packages (BSPs) for each supported board. Each BSP includes initialization code and device drivers for all on-board peripherals, including 10/100BaseT Ethernet, CRT and Flat Panel graphics, serial and parallel ports, IDE and floppy disk drives, USB and AC97 sound. Each BSP can easily be installed into the Platform Builder 4.1 environment for immediate use in building Windows CE-based products.
Today's announcement covers both RISC and CISC processors in Ampro's three form factors - PC/104 CPUs, EBX Single Board Computers, and EnCore embedded modules. Many of these boards are available with extended operating temperatures (-40 to +85 C) and all offer conformal coating for moist or corrosive environments, and a three-year warranty.
The 486-based CoreModuleTM 400 PC/104 SBC, with integrated 2D graphics and 10/100BaseT Ethernet, features a BSP which has been recently certified by Microsoft and features the STMicroelectronics STPC® AtlasTM processor.
To satisfy developers who require Pentium-class hardware for application performance, Ampro offers Windows CE support on the EBX-compatible Little BoardTM P5v, which uses the 266MHz Pentium "Tillamook" processor on a full-featured SBC.
For OEMs who want to customize their I/O, Ampro supplies Windows CE support for the EnCoreTM 500 module, also with the "Tillamook" processor, the EnCore 400 module using the STPC Atlas CPU, and the EnCore 700 module, which features a choice of 850MHz Pentium III or 300MHz Celeron processor with integrated AGP graphics. Each module brings the PCI bus, Ethernet, video, IDE, serial, parallel, USB, IrDA, keyboard and mouse signals to a standardized baseboard interface to allow the baseboard designer to easily select and extend the peripherals without cabling.
For OEMs who prefer a low-power RISC processor, Ampro also offers Windows CE .NET support on the EnCore M3 module, which is a complete RISC-based embedded PC based on the highly efficient AMD Alchemy™ Au1500TM processor at 400 MHz. The BSP for the EnCore M3 includes a unique custom driver for the MOBILITYTM RADEONTM M1 graphics processor from ATI Technologies Inc. With only 3.5 Watts total power consumption, this module provides an exceptional value for OEMs who need an affordable, off-the-shelf, high-performance solution without worrying about heat dissipation.
Price and Availability
Ampro provides each BSP at no charge with the QuickStart Kit for each board. Ampro's QuickStart Kits start at only $895 for board, memory, cables and Windows CE-based BSP. SBCs and processor modules start at under $300 in moderate volumes. QuickStart Kits for all six boards are available immediately from Ampro. Windows CE and Platform Builder are available from Microsoft and its distributors.
About Ampro Computers
Ampro Computers, Inc. is the leading global provider of modular embedded computing solutions for OEM applications. Ampro's mission is to provide time saving solutions for embedded systems designers that accelerate the product deployment process. Ampro pioneered the embedded PC industry creating the popular PC/104 and EBX standards. The new EnCore family enables designers to obtain all the benefits of an off-the-shelf CPU solution while maintaining the flexibility of a full custom design. In addition to EnCore, Ampro offers three product lines; PC/104-compatible CoreModule CPUs and MiniModule expansion products, and EBX form factor Little Board single-board computers (SBC). Ampro was awarded Electronique magazine's "Electron d'Or 2002" for subsystems for the EnCore M2 product. For more information about Ampro Computers, please visit http://www.ampro.com.
AMPRO is a registered trademark and EnCore, Little Board, CoreModule, and MiniModule are trademarks of Ampro Computers, Inc.
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