If I use a TERN design, how long can I expect it to be available?
General Questions
OEM and EOL - End of life considerations for OEM users

OEM developers know that they need to balance more than just price and performance; they need to know about life-time and availability. Even the best product design means little if the platform on which it's based becomes extinct in 2-3 years, forcing a total redesign. Expected life-time and product roadmap are important considerations.

TERN has been providing products for OEM users since 1993, and we understand the challenges behind offering a reliable, consistently available product. In the rapidly changing embedded world, processors and technologies are declared obsolete with little warning.

Many embedded users have probably been victims to this trend. A board design that's been in use for years is suddenly declared EOL, and the product development cycle has to be restarted from scratch... often with new engineering staff, development tools, and processor architectures. All of the previous development effort is wasted.

From TERN's point of view, choosing a programmable controller platform is about more than solving an immediate need; it's about commitment.

TERN is strongly committed to the goal of offering consistent, reliable embedded board designs that will be available for years and even decades. Many of our original customers have now been buying the same designs for 10+ years. No one can avoid change as the underlying technologies evolves, but our goal is to make this as invisible as possible for our customers.

We take three steps:
  1. we try to inventory, at our expense, single-source components if they're in danger of becoming declared EOL;
  2. we work with third-party vendors to develop multiple replacement sources for any vulnerable components;
  3. finally, we design replacement solutions that are drop-in compatible at the source, firmware, or hardware level.
    Bottom line: TERN will inventory all currently available designs for 3-5 years, actively plan for 5-10 years, and aim for 10+ years.
Some users, in particular, have expressed concern in the viability of the x86 processor family. Recent EOL announcements from Intel, the originators of the x86 product family, have led to mistaken belief that the processor line is no longer supported or available.

Actually, the x86 processor family continues to thrive. Intel's announcement applies exclusively to their family of chips built around this instruction set. Intel has not been a major player in the embedded 16-bit microprocessor market for decades, and this announcement has minimal impact on TERN's family of products.

x86 architecture is a popular, flexible, and time-proven architecture. A wide array of software tools and hardware peripherals have been designed around this architecture. As a result, numerous vendors throughout the world are now providing x86-based processors. We have identified, validated, and shipped our boards with compatible processors from leading vendors like AMD, RDC, and Innovasic.

Choose TERN, because we'll be here supporting your design 3, 5, 10 years from now.

(For details regarding your specific board, feel free to contact us directly.)

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