In today’s competitive embedded markets, manufacturers need to find ways to differentiate without adversely impacting development time and cost. This is particularly true in relation to embedded devices that are designed for use by consumers. As such products become more sophisticated, user interaction via traditional switches, dials, and basic displays becomes less desirable for a number of reasons. An alternative is to capitalize on recent innovation in the mobile phone space, which has made it possible to deploy inexpensive and high quality LCD and touch screen interfaces. But such innovation is accompanied by expectation: today’s consumers demand a rich ‘smartphone-like’ interactive experience anywhere they find a screen, and products that fall short may ultimately fail. The challenge, therefore, lies in how to deliver an effective and aesthetically appealing Graphical User Interface (GUI). Making the right decision depends to a large extent on choosing the right software strategy. This paper discusses the motivations for and potential benefits of switching to LCD-based interfaces, and goes on to describe the challenges facing anyone attempting to deliver a great embedded GUI. This paper concludes with a checklist of things to look for when assessing the merits of the various off-the-shelf GUI software solutions available today.

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