Microcontroller Embedded Flash
Microcontrollers with In-System Programmable Flash were introduced in the 1990s. This has presented a challenge for the electronics manufacturing to provide the quickest and most cost effective way to program this memory in a production environment.
The industry standard for in-system programming uses a dedicated programmer, or a POD, adding an extra step to the process. However, Teradyne's in-circuit testers with Deep Serial Memory (DSM) provide the capability to do this while PCBAs are at in-circuit test, eliminating this extra step.
Manufacturers of microcontrollers include, but are not limited to Texas instruments, NXP, Microchip, Renesas, Infineon, ST Microelectronics, Cypress and Silicon Labs.
This industry has experienced rapid growth over the last few decades. There is no emerging technology that could replace the microcontroller. Flash could be replaced by FRAM, but FRAM needs to be programmed as well. The market for microcontrollers will never become saturated as long as engineers keep finding creative places to put them.