Computer-On-Module Designs for the Future of Portable Devices

For mobile and handheld device manufacturers, the evolution of Compute-On-Module (COM) products has largely been a story of more capable modules being developed to better meet the need for small size, low power, and good performance. In order to meet competitive imperatives, the need for f lexibility and low cost has played a key role as well. With every new generation of technology, engineers must balance all those factors, and in doing so, they must look forward to ongoing compatibility with future components, in order to avoid costly redesign down the road.

With the introduction of the Intel® Atom™ processor, the basis for very low-power, high-performance x86-based COM modules has entered the market. Offering a combination of robustness, low cost, and small form factor, this processor has ushered in a large number of innovative, Windows-ready COM products that break new ground for portable devices as diverse as patient monitors, remote controlled robots, mobile test and measurement systems, and mobile casino games:

  • Higher performance to size ratio at lower power enables smaller, passively cooled designs for a broad range of demanding applications, allowing migration from cart based to handheld portable devices, for example.
  • Better power efficiency supports longer work times between battery charges, even with frequent, power-hungry wireless communication and processing-intensive applications such as handheld ultrasound.
  • Smaller form factor improves portability, enhancing manufacturer flexibility in considering which applications are suitable for the handheld and portable market.

Because of the small form factor of the Intel Atom processor, module manufacturers have been able to create modules that are smaller than the sizes specified by the PICMG COM Express standard by as much as 50 percent or more. While those small footprints enable smaller devices, their divergence from the standard adds a new layer of complexity to the choice of modules, since pin-out compatibility with existing COM Express-based device designs is not necessarily assured. Moreover, future planning must include flexibility for next-generation I/O and the obsolescence of legacy technologies like IDE and FWH, as well as avoiding vendor lock-in or the need for redesign.

To view the full white paper and read more about Com Express solutions from RadiSys – go to


Invention takes us all over the world, into all kinds of applications. The RadiSys COM Experts integrate your insights and application features into new modules that are precisely designed for areas like medical systems, industrial automation, security, gaming, and test & measurement applications.

The RadiSys COM Experts support your design teams with advanced knowledge of what it takes to make a COM design smooth and successful. We provide the software utilities, BIOS features, critical schematics, and mechanical diagrams that you need to accelerate your time to market. The RadiSys COM Expert team will even handle small or large aspects of your project, from a schematic check to the entire custom carrier and system design.


Contact Information

RadiSys Corporation

5445 NE Dawson Creek Drive
Hillsboro, OR, 97124

tele: 503.615.1100
toll-free: 800.950.0044
fax: 503.615.1115

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • TwitThis
Extension Media websites place cookies on your device to give you the best user experience. By using our websites, you agree to placement of these cookies and to our Privacy Policy. Please click here to accept.