The evolution of embedded systems has taken a new direction with the appearance of "Smart Products." This term borrows meaning from the recently coined word Smartphone in order to describe an embedded system that has Smartphone-like features: a rich, interactive user interface, the ability to perceive the environment through a mix of sensors, and significant local processing. In this paper, our interest is not in the analysis of such Smart Products, but rather in how to deal with an enormous mismatch within such products: mis-matched lifecycles.
The problem is that, on one hand, the electrical/ mechanical target systems evolve slowly; in some cases going unchanged for a decade or more. But on the other hand the smart, connected portion of the Smart Product wants to change at the speed of the web: new user-interface metaphors, new sensors, even new control algorithms. This difference in rate of change puts extreme tension on the interface between the smart and target portions of the system.