ESC is always an interesting event for me; the embedded market is so different from enterprise application development. I think the biggest difference is the diversity and raw number of vendors. Hundreds of these vendors selling boards, processors, memory, rtos, compilers, debuggers, tools, etc. The end users are building airplanes, control systems for hospital devices, automotive systems, etc. There appears to be a lot of niches being addressed at ESC.
The interesting trend I observed is that a lot of these companies, large and small, require tools and a lot of them are using Eclipse for their tooling solution. Companies that I didn’t know, like EMAC, Hi-Tech, RoweBots and Freescale, were demonstrating their tools built on Eclipse. It really reminded me of an article Carl Zetie wrote called Eclipse and the Long Tail. Eclipse is enabling companies to offer sophisticated specialize development tools, when before they wouldn’t have been able to afford the development cost.
It is pretty apparent that awareness and adoption of Eclipse within the embedded community continues to grow. My favourite conversation was when a guy came up to me and said ‘our major customer, a major defense contractor, has told us that if we want to continue to have design wins, we must have Eclipse tools’. This guy wanted to know how to get started. :-) When large defense contractors are mandating Eclipse, you have to know the future is bright.