Posts Tagged ‘freescale’

Wind River Introduces Free Cloud-based Operating Systems for IoT Applications

November 4th, 2015 No comments

After Google Brillo operating system was officially launched last week, another company has announced free operating systems for IoT. What’s peculiar is that the company is Wind River a vendor of commercial operating systems whose typical business model is to sell licenses for their operating systems and fees for their development services. Nevertheless, the company has now introduced Wind River Rocket real-time operating system, and Wind River Pulsar Linux operating system.  Both OSes will interface with the company’s Helix Cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, which is probably how the company intends to monetize their work, on top of customization services.
Wind River Helix App Cloud is currently made of three products:

  • Helix App Cloud cloud-based development environment for building IoT applications
  • Helix Lab Cloud cloud-based virtual hardware lab for simulating and testing IoT devices and complex systems.
  • Helix Device Cloud cloud-based platform for managing deployed IoT devices and their data.

Wind_River_RocketSome of the main features of Rocket kernel, called Zephyr, include:

  • Multi-threading – priority-based, non-preemptive fibers and priority-based, preemptive tasks (with optional round robin time-slicing).
  • Interrupts – compile-time and run-time registration of interrupt handlers, which can be written in C or assembly language.
  • Power Management – tickless idle and an advanced idling infrastructure.
  • Inter-thread Data Passing – basic message queues, enhanced message queues, and byte streams.
  • Memory Allocation – dynamic allocation and freeing of fixed-size or variable-size memory blocks.
  • Inter-Thread Synchronization – binary semaphores, counting semaphores, and mutex semaphores.

Rocket can be used in devices with as low as 4KB memory. Since Rocket is cloud-connected, you can develop your app in a web browser, and technical details and documentation can be found in Rocket’s developer zone, and sample apps on Github including some using the Arduino library. The sample apps are also available directly from Helix App Cloud. While Rocket OS is free, it does not appear to be open source (TBC).

Wind River is now an Intel company, and one of the boards supported is Galileo Gen 2 board with an Intel Quark SoC, but they’ll also soon support ARM platforms starting with Freescale Freedom-K64F board powered by Kinetis K64, K63 or K24 Cortex-M4 MCU. If you don’t have hardware you can also give it a try with Qemu.

Wind River Pulsar Linux Software Architecture

Wind River Pulsar Linux Software Architecture

Pulsar Linux is for more powerful hardware, and is based on the Yocto Project. The main features of the operating system are listed as follows:

  • Multiple architectures – Certified images run on all major CPU architectures.
  • Easy application development and device lifecycle management – Using the available SDK, users can focus directly on developing their own value-added features.
  • Quick prototyping – Pulsar is shipped as a pre-installed binary image with hardware, or is available for download.
  • Integration with Wind River Helix Lab Cloud and Wind River Helix App Cloud – Pulsar can run on simulated hardware within cloud-based virtual lab that includes software and hardware simulations.
  • Top-to-bottom security – From secure boot to middleware and applications, all transfers are made via a certified repository feed.
  • Secure updates – Pulsar provides ongoing security patches and other critical Linux updates.
  • Software updates for deployed devices – A smart update agent connects to certified repositories for updating devices deployed in the field.
  • Extensibility via packages – You can add packages on the target from a certified repository or build packages on the target.
  • Containers for application middleware abstraction – Pulsar can bring any application from any ecosystem to run on any device, even applications that need their own middleware.
  • Free open source software (FOSS) compliance – Source code is provided for power users

Pulsar Linux source code and build tools are available on Github, while the documentation can be found on Wind River knowledge base.

Supported hardware include Minnowboard MAX, as well as AVNet’s PicoZed, MicroZed and mini-ITX development board all powered by Xilinx Zynq ARM + FPGA SoCs. You can also run the Minnowboard image via kvm/qemu.

You can find all the details about Wind River new operating systems and IoT cloud services on Rocket, Pulsar Linux, and Helix Cloud product pages.

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ARM TechCon 2015 Schedule – IoT, Servers, 64-bit ARM, Power Usage Optimization, and More

October 1st, 2015 No comments

ARM_TechCon_2015The ARM Technology Conference (ARM TechCon) will take place on November 10 – 12, 2015, in Santa Clara Convention Center, and just like every year, there will be a free exposition for companies to showcase their latest innovation and/or products, as well as a technical conference with sessions and workshops sorted into various tracks:

  • Automotive/Embedded Vision
  • Embedded
  • IoT
  • Mobile/Connectivity
  • Networking Infrastructure/Servers
  • Tools & Implementation
  • Wearables/Sensors
  • ARM Training Day
  • Sponsored Vendor Training
  • Special Event
  • General Event
  • Software Developers Workshop

You can find the complete schedule on ARM TechCon website. Although I won’t attend, I’ve created my own virtual schedule with some of the sessions I found interesting.

Tuesday – November 10

  • 8:30 – 9:20 – ARM Vision for Thermal Management and Energy Aware Scheduling on Linux by Ian Rickards (ARM), Charles Garcia-Tobin (ARM), Bobby Batacharia (ARM)

This talk will cover the history and where are we going, for ARM’s Power Software (IPA, EAS, and some concepts for the future).

ARM will detail the latest update on our thermal control software Intelligent Power Allocation (IPA) which has just been released in mainline Linux 4.2. The tuning and implementation flow allow IPA to be easily deployed in Linux-based devices including Android.

We will also introduce ‘Energy Aware Scheduling’ (EAS) which is a new development by ARM/Linaro to allow the Linux scheduler to make the most energy efficient decisions using a generic energy model based approach. EAS includes improved upstream Linux support for ARM “big.LITTLE” systems and other advanced multi-cpu topologies.

  • 9:30 – 10:30 – Innovation is Thriving in Semiconductors by Mike Muller (ARM)

The human capacity to find a path past difficult challenges is astonishing. Though traditional silicon scaling is more complex at advanced geometries, electronics design innovation is more robust than ever as engineers devise new ways to improve the latest chips. ARM CTO Mike Muller will describe advances in design innovation spanning low power, trust, and architectural innovation all the way from sensors to server and beyond. And he’ll unveil the latest technology achievements from ARM in his signature lively, humorous and engaging style.

  • 10:30 – 11:20 – IoT Prototyping 101: The All-in-One Platform by Steven Si (MediaTek)

Power efficiency, connectivity and size are top priorities for any developer looking to prototype innovative IoT devices. Best utilizing these key features with ARM’s technology will be the spotlight of this session a live demonstration of how a developer at any level can create the next big thing in IoT. Skills to be shown: connecting sensors; using a cloud interface to build a virtual device; sending data from the device to the cloud and communicating with other smart devices. (cnxsoft: possibly using LinkIt ONE platform)

  • 11:30 – 12:20 – Khronos APIs for Fast and Cool Graphics, Compute and Vision by Neil Trevett (Khronos)

Discover how 100 companies cooperate at the Khronos Group to create open, royalty free standards that enable developers to access the power of hardware to accelerate the demanding tasks in cutting-edge mobile applications including heterogeneous parallel computation, 3D graphics and vision processing. This session includes the latest updates to API standards including OpenGL, OpenCL, OpenVX, and the recent Vulkan new generation graphics and compute API. The session will explore how modern APIs will accelerate the availability of compelling experiences such as neural-net based driver assistance, virtual and augmented reality, and advanced environmental tracking and 3D reconstruction on ARM-based devices

  • 13:00 – 15:00 – Boosting Performance from ‘C’ to Sky with Custom Accelerators on ARM-based FPGAs by Shaun Purvis (Hardent)

Offloading tasks to specialized hardware, such as a GPU or FPU, is a common approach to boosting software performance. However, the fixed nature (i.e. hard-silicon) of such hardware places an upper limit on just how much performance can be boosted. In order to break down this barrier, some modern SoCs have combined ARM processing power with programmable logic allowing software to be offloaded to custom, scalable, accelerators. With accelerators that can be tailored to specific needs, suddenly the sky’s the limit! But that’s not all. Combining these SoCs with modern tools allows designers to migrate high-level functions directly to hardware, skipping all the hardware design in between. This presentation will introduce one such tool and discuss the design methodology that takes a software-defined system and turns it into a custom hardware accelerated one.

  • 15:30 – 16:20 – Bringing Mali, the Android GPU of Choice, to Wearables by Dan Wilson (ARM Ltd.)

In this talk we will look at the trends for the use of graphics processors in Wearable devices and how the technical requirements of this space differ from that of smartphones and other segments. We look specifically at the ARM Mali GPU Utgard architecture which provides the perfect fit for Wearable designs and describe how this architecture has been implemented to create ARM’s latest ultra-low-power Mali GPU.

  • 16:30 – 18:00 – Efficient Interrupts on ARM Cortex-M Microcontrollers by Chris Shore (ARM)

Most real-time embedded systems make extensive use of interrupts to provide real-time response to external events. The design of the interrupt architecture is crucial to achieve maximum system efficiency. When designing software for devices based on ARM’s Cortex-M microcontroller cores, it is important to understand the interaction between interrupt priority, sub-priority, tail-chaining and pre-emption to achieve the most efficient design. This session will examine various use cases and give practical advice to software developers.

Wednesday – November 11

  • 8:30 – 9:20 – How (Not) to Generate Misleading Performance Results for ARM Servers by Markus Levy (EEMBC) & Bryan Chin (Cavium)

Cloud workloads are putting unique demands on SoCs and other system-level hardware being integrated into scale-out servers. Traditional benchmarks address the suitability of processors for different tasks. However, many factors contribute to the whole system performance memory, disks, OS, network interfaces, and network stack. In addition, the manner of generating workloads can affect the results. This session uses a case study from Cavium’s ARM-based Thunder X system and the EEMBC cloud and server benchmark, to present results that demonstrate how subtle test environment variations can obfuscate benchmark results and how a properly designed benchmark can overcome these obstacles.

  • 9:30 – 10:30 – Keynote by Simon Segars (ARM’s CEO)
  • 10:30 – 11:20 – Pentralux Flexible Digital Displays on Paper, Plastic, Cloth & Synthetics by Mathew Gilliat-Smith (DST Innovations), Anthony Miles (DST Innovations)

DST Innovations has created a flexible digital display proof of concept produced on plastic, paper, cloth or synthetic substrates. It’s integrated with the ARM mbed OS and will be suitable for developers and designers to integrate into third party products. Initially the digital screens will be for informational or promotional data and video. Being bright, safe, robust and requiring little power, the design parameters will be significant and far reaching for the wearable sector in thousands of clothing, fashion, promotional and other commercial concepts. The screens will offer inter-connectivity through the mbed ecosystem to receive transmitted IoT cloud generated data.

  • 11:30 – 12:20 – Are you ready for USB Type-C? by Ravi Shah (NXP Semiconductors) & Andy Lin (NXP Semiconductors)

USB Type-C offers new features and benefits like reversible plug orientation, improved data rates up to 10 Gbps as well as an unprecedented, scalable, 100 W power-delivery capability that can power higher wattage devices and support faster charging. This session will review the features, benefits and applications it is being designed into today. In addition, design considerations and lessons learned from the field will be reviewed.

  • 12:30 – 13:20 – From Concept to Reality: Advancing ARM-based Enterprise SoCs – Presented by Applied Micro Circuits Corporation by Dr. Paramesh Gopi (Allied Micro Circuits Corporation)

No abstract…

  • 14:30 – 17:20 – STM32L7 Hands-On Workshop by James Lombard & Steve Miller (STMicroelectronics)

Thursday – November 12

  • 8:30 – 9:20 – All Things Data: Healthcare by Pierre Roux (Atmel)

Examples of IoT are everywhere, including digital home, remote resourcing monitoring and automation, but what gets less attention is how the IoT will impact healthcare with the combination of technologies that leverages big data and analytics that go along with it.

This talk will look at opportunities, hurdles and the skills required to make the most of this intersection of Internet-connected physical objects and the deluge of data. It will examine new generation of data analytics for use cases associated with our changing world and, examine the role big data analytics will play in the future of the healthcare industry.

  • 10:30 – 11:20 – The ARM Cortex-A72 processor: Delivering high efficiency for Server Networking and HPC by Ian Forsyth,  Director of Marketing, ARM

New content-rich features, services and evolving business models are transforming network architectures, giving rise to the Intelligent Flexible Cloud (IFC). Architects are decentralizing intelligence to deliver required flexibility and to cope with increased traffic demands. This, in turn, is driving new classes of SoCs, enabled by technology standards including software-defined networking (SDN) and network functional virtualization (NFV). These require significant throughput-per-watt efficiencies within networking and servers. This talk will explore how the latest Cortex-A72 CPU offers compelling performance and throughput to meet the requirements of these future workloads.

  • 11:30 – 12:20 – Porting to 64-bit on ARM by Chris Shore (ARM)

With the introduction of the A64 instruction set in ARMv8-A, many developers need to port existing code to work in a 64-bit environment. At the coding level, this presentation will cover porting C code, assembly code and NEON code. Issues covered will include data typing and type conversion, pointers, bitwise operations, differences in the SIMD register bank layout, mapping of assembly instructions. At a system level, we will cover maintenance operations and extensions to the security architecture.

  • 13:30 – 14:20 – Keynote- The Hard Things About the Internet of Things by Colt McAnlis (Google)
  • 14:30 – 15:20 – Wearable System Power Analysis and Optimization by Greg Steiert (Maxim Integrated), Jesse Marroquin (Maxim Integrated)

This session will demonstrate how to extend battery life by showing the real world impact of system level architecture decisions. The session will introduce a technique for measuring battery current and then use that technique to compare the power efficiency of different system implementations. Tradeoffs analyzed will include: power architecture, operating voltage, sensor data interfaces, DMA, SIMD.

Takeaway: a method for measuring real time power consumption,  advantage of operating at the lowest voltage possible with efficient regulators, tradeoffs of different sensor interfaces and of different micro-controller architectures (peripherals/M0+/M3/M4)

  • 15:30 – 16:20 – Improving Software Security through Standards Compliance and Structural Coverage Analysis by Shan Bhattacharya (LDRA)

This presentation will focus on secure software best practices. Ensuring the security of embedded devices involves more than simply using vulnerability preventive programming. However, paying attention to and leveraging security standards such as CWE/CVE, CERT C and even CERT Java, will certainly improve the probability of delivering a secure and effective system.

  • 16:30 – 17:20 – Top Android Performance Problems of 2015 by Colt McAnlis (Google)

When you look at performance problems all day, you’re bound to lose your hair. So rather than balding early yourself, Colt McAnlis will walk you through the top performance problems that dominated 2015. This talk will cover the range of issues from Memory, to Rendering, to Networking, listing specific topics that have shown up in many of the top apps in Google Play. We’ll even take some time to look at the differences in some form factors, and how you should plan around that.

  • 17:30 – 18:30 – Happy Hour :)

If you are going to attend, you can register online. While as usual, going to the expo and attending vendor’s sponsored sessions is free, there are different passes to join the conference sessions, ARM training day, and software developers workshops. The earlier you register, the cheaper.

Conference Pass ARM Training Day Software Developers
Expo Pass
Super Early Bird
(Ends July 24)
$599 $199 $99 Free
Early Bird
(Ends Sept. 4)
$799 $249 $149 Free
(Ends Oct. 30)
$999 $299 $199 Free
Regular/Onsite $1249 $349 $249 Free

There are also discounts for groups, students, press & media, and government employees. You can check details on ARm TechCon 2015’s Passes & Prices page.

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Freescale i.MX6 DualPlus and QuadPlus SoCs Gets Faster 2D and 3D Graphics, Higher Memory Bandwidth

August 11th, 2015 5 comments

Freescale unveiled three new models for its i.MX 6 family processor for consumer, industrial and automotive markets in May. Two models are an upgrade to existing i.MX6 Quad and i.MX6 Dual processors, as the new i.MX 6QuadPlus and i.MX6DualPlus processors features four and two Cortex A9 cores, together with improved 2D and 3D GPUs delivering around 50% faster performance, an “optimized” SDRAM controller, more SRAM, and a prefetch and resolve engine. The third model, i.MX 6UltraLite, features a single ARM Cortex A7 core and hardware security, and targets applications such as electronic Point Of Sales (ePOS).

Freescale i.MX6 Processor Family

Freescale i.MX6 Processor Family (Click to Enlarge)

That means there are now 9 i.MX6 processors, and today, I’ll focus on the two new “Plus” versions. Since they are based on the original i.MX6 Quad and i.MX6 Dual processors, the best way to have a look at these is to compare them to their predecessors.

Features i.MX 6QuadPlus i.MX 6Quad i.MX 6DualPlus i.MX 6Dual
CPU 4x ARM Cortex A9 up to 1.2GHz 2x ARM Cortex A9 up to 1.2GHz
I-Cache/D-Cache 32KB/32KB L1, 1MB L2
Embedded SRAM 512KB 256KB 512KB 256KB
Memory Interface 2x 32 LP-DDR2, 1-ch, x 64 DDR3/LV-DDR3, Page and Channel Interleaving at 533 MHz
Hardware Video Acceleration Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 8 layer composition, 4 shaders, 720 MHz, embedded prefetch and resolve engine
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 2 layer composition, 4 shaders, 594 MHz
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 8 layer composition, 4 shaders, 720 MHz, embedded prefetch and resolve engine
Open GL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0
OpenCL 1.1 EP
OpenVG 1.1, 2DBLT, 2 layer composition, 4 shaders, 594 MHz
Package 21 x 21 BGA 0.8mm

So we can see the SRAM doubled, GPU improvements include a faster shader frequency (720 MHz vs 594 MHz), and 8-layer composition support instead of just two, and the prefetch and resolve engine. Strangely the “newly optimized 64-bit DDR3/LVDDR3/LPDDR2-1066 memory interface to increase bus bandwidth ” is not reflected in this table, and the company did not name Vivante has the GPU vendor. The good news is that the news parts use the same package, and actually pin-to-pin compatible, meaning in due time we may see Wandboard Quad Plus or UDOO Quad Plus or other boards and products coming to market.

Freescale i.MX 6QuadPlus Block Diagram

Freescale i.MX 6QuadPlus Block Diagram

All other features and peripherals are identical including video playback capabilities, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, low speed I/Os, and so one. The data in this table has been extracted from Freescale’s i.MX 6 Series Comparison Table.

Freescale posted a video comparing the 2D and 3D graphics performance of i.MX 6QuadPlus against i.MX 6Quad with a memory bandwidth, fractal, texture and 8-layer composition demos, indeed showing significant performance improvement in the order of 50% to over 100%.

i.MX 6DualPlus and i.MX 6QuadPlus processors have been sampling since May, but mass production is only planned for October 2015, while i.MX 6UltraLite processor must have started sampling in July 2015, with no date announced for production. More information should soon be available on Freescale i.MX6 product page.

Thanks to Nanik.

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Freescale i.MX7 96Boards Compliant Board Coming in Q4 2015

August 2nd, 2015 6 comments

96Boards is an open hardware platform specification for 32-bit and 64-bit processors boards (64+32 = 96), but so far only 64-bit board have been launched or announced, and 32-bit boards were missing from the equation. Freescale will soon change that as they’ve partnered with Arrow Electronics on a 96Boards compliant board powered by Freescale i.MX7 Dual due to be released at the same time as i.MX7 enters mass production, which is scheduled for November 2015.

Freescale_i.MX7_96BoardsFreescale i.MX6 96Boards (MCIMX7 ?) preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX 7Dual with two ARM Cortex A7 cores @ 1.0 GHz, one ARM Cortex M4 core @ 266 MHz, and a 2D image processing engine (no 3D GPU)
  • System Memory – TBD (Probably 512MB or 1GB RAM)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 64GB + flash? (TBC)
  • Video Output – HDMI connector + DSI via HS expansion header
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Qualcomm Atheros module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 2x micro USB (OTG?) ports
  • Camera – CSI interface via HS expansion header
  • Expansion headers as per 96Boards CE specifications
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – 2x UART, 2x I2C, GPIOs, SPI, Audio, reset, 1.8V and GND, as wekk as 5V/12V cooling fan support
    • HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – DSI, CSI, SDIO, USB, etc…
  • Power Supply – 8-18V / 2A as per 96Boards CE specification (Linear Technologies solution)
  • Dimensions – 85x54x12 mm

Freescale i.MX7 supports both Linux and Android, but the latter is probably limited since there’s no proper GPU, with only some 2D acceleration. I found out about the board in a video recently uploaded to YouTube by Freescale.

The board is expected by the end of the year, and no pricing information has been announced so far.

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Freescale Introduces a Coin-sized Single Chip Module (SCM) Based on Freescale i.MX 6Dual

June 24th, 2015 13 comments

As the Freescale Technology Forum 2015 is taking place in Austin, Texas, the company will announce a few new products over the 4-day conference. After the official launch of Freescale i.MX 7 series processors, Freescale unveiled a new product based on their existing i.MX6 platform with “i.MX 6Dual SCM” (Single Chip Module) that integrate a dual core i.MX 6Dual processor with 1 or 2 GB LPDDR2 (PoP), a 16MB NOR flash and a PMIC in a tiny, coin-sized module.

SCM_i.MX6D Key feature of SCM-i.MX6D module:

  • Freescale i.MX 6Dual application processor with two ARM Cortex A9 core @ 800 MHz and Vivante GPUs (2D/3D)
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB LPDDR2 (PoP configuration)
  • Storage – 16 MB SPI NOR (Micron N25Q128A13)
  • Power Supply – Freescale PMIC PF0100
  • Dimensions – 17mm x 14mm x 1.7mm

There are also 109 discrete components on the module. BSPs for Linux and Android will be provided.

Module Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Module Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

To help with early development, Freescale is also planning to soon launch an SCM-i.MX6D Evaluation Board with the following specs:

  • Module: SCM-i.MX6D with 1GB RAM
  • Storage – eMMC + 2x SD car slots, usable for boot, storage, and WiFi cards
  • Connectivity – 1x GbE port, WiFi (via SD slot)
  • USB – 1x Type A USB port, 1x Micro-AB USB port
  • Audio – Stereo audio codec; microphone input
  • Expansion – 1x Mini-PCIe socket
  • Misc – 1x CAN connector

Optional modules adding HDMI output, LVDS (10.1″ display), WiFi, and others will also become available with the evaluation kit.

SCM i.MX6D Evaluation Board

SCM i.MX6D Evaluation Board

Freescale’s SCM modules are expected to be used in applications ranging from 3D gaming goggles, to “next-generation” IoT drones as well as other IoT products, a medical equipment, and autonomous sensing applications.

The i.MX 6Dual SCM should become available in August 2015 either directly from Freescale, or through Arrow Electronics, and more SCM products are planned for the next two years. Check out SCM-i.MX6D product page for details.

Via Liliputing and LinuxGizmos

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Freescale Launches i.MX 7 Series Cortex A7 + Cortex M4 Processors for IoT Applications

June 23rd, 2015 8 comments

Freescale announced plans for i.MX 7 and i.MX 8 processors in 2013, but it’s only in the last few months there have been some patchsets submitted to the ARM Linux Kernel mailing list, and so far all documentation was only available to companies and developers under NDA. Now the company has officially launched i.MX 7 series, and although all documents are not available yet, Freescale has released a factsheet providing an overview about the processors. Freescale i.MX 7 series processors targets applications such as wearables, e-readers, secure point-of-sale equipment, smart home controls, industrial automation products and other IoT solutions.


Freescale i.MX 7Dual Processor Block Diagram (Click to Enalrge)

Two processors are currently available: the single core i.MX 7Solo processor, and the dual core i.MX 7Dual processor. Both basically share the same specifications, but beside the extra Cortex A7 core, i.MX 7Dual also adds on extra USB host port, a PCIe interface, an extra Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 4th generation EPD controller.

Freescale i.MX 7 specifications:

  • Main CPU
    • i.MX 7Solo – ARM Cortex A7 @ 800 MHz with 512KB L2 cache, 256KB SRAM, 96KB ROM
    • i.MX 7Dual – 2x ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.0 GHz with 512KB L2 cache, 256KB SRAM, 96KB ROM
  • Secondary CPU – ARM Cortex M4 @ 266 MHz
  • Memory I/F
    • 16-/32-bit DDR3/DDR3L and LPDDR2/3 @ 533 MHz
    • MMC 5.0; 3x SD 3.0
    • NOR Flash/SRAM I/F
    • 8-bit NAND I/F
    • Dual channel Quad SPI
  • Connectivity – 1 or 2 Gigabit Ethernet (AVB)
  • Display
    • 24-bit parallel RGB
    • MIPI DSI (2 lanes)
    • EPD controller (7Dual only)
  • Camera
    • Parallel CSI (up to 24-bit)
    • MIPI CSI (2 lanes)
  • Other Interfaces
    • 1 or 2 USB 2.0 host (w/ PHY), 1x USB 2.0 host interface (w/ HSIC)
    • 7x UART, 4x I2C, 4x SPI
    • 3x I2S
    • 2x CAN
    • 4x PWM
    • 2x FlexTimer
    • 2x SmartCard I/F
    • 2x 12-bit ADC
    • PCI-e slot (1x lane, 7Dual only)
  • Security with tamper resist – Secure RTC, RSA 4096, Ciphers, 10-pin tamper, etc…
  • Manufacturing – 28nm ultra low leakage process technology

Freescale claims their i.MX 7 Series processors consume about one third of their i.MX 6 Series based on Cortex A9 cores, with a core efficiency of 15.7 DMIPS/mW, and a new Low Power State Retention mode (LPSR) of 250 μW. The processors will also be coupled with the new PF3000 PMIC to achieve higher efficiency.

SABRE board for Freescale i.MX 7 processors

SABRE board for Freescale i.MX 7 processors

A SABRE board with i.MX 7Dual will also be available, and integrate a PF3000 PMIC, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 and an SD card preinstalled with a Linux based operating system, and Android is also available from Freescale. I could not find details or pricing (usually around $500) for the development board.

i.MX 7Solo and i.MX 7Dual processors are sampling now, with mass production scheduled for November 2015. More information should soon become available on Freescale i.MX 7 Series product page.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Freescale Announces i.MX 6SoloX ARM Cortex A9 & Cortex M4 Processor

February 25th, 2015 7 comments

Freescale i.MX6 SoloX processor started to show up in the ARM Linux Kernel mailing list last year, and Cortex A9 + Cortex M4 processor showed up in some marketing documents, but so far all documentation was tied to a non-diclosure agreement. However, all resources are now publicly available, as the company officially launched i.MX 6SoloX processor at Embedded World 2015.

IMX6SX Block Diagram

IMX6SX Block Diagram (Dotted line are for optional features)

Freescale i.MX 6SoloX specifications:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex-A9 up to 1 GHz with 512 KB L2 cache, 32 KB instruction and data caches and NEON SIMD media accelerator
  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M4 up to 200 MHz with 16 KB instruction and data caches, 64 KB TCM, MPU and FPU
  • Memory Interface
    • 16/32-bit DDR3-800 and DDR3L-800, 16/32-bit LPDDR2-800
    • SLC/MLC NAND, 62-bit ECC, ONFI2.2
    • 2x DDR Quad SPI NOR flash, 16/32-bit NOR Flash
  • Display and Camera Interfaces
    • Parallel RGB
    • LVDS
    • 20-bit parallel CMOS sensor interface
    • NTSC/PAL analog video input interface
  • Multimedia
    • GPU – Vivante GC400T 3D GPU supporting OpenGL ES 2.0. 27Mtri/s & 133Mpxl/s and 2D GPU
    • PiXel Processing Pipeline (PXP) – Image re-sizing, rotation, overlay and CSC
  • I/O and Peripherals
    • 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet with \hardware AVB and support for IEEE1588
    • 1x PCIe 2.0 (1 lane)
    • 2x 8ch 12-bit ADC
    • 3x USB 2.0 ports, 2x HS OTG + PHY, 1x HS Host HSIC
    • 4x SD/MMC 4.5
    • 5x SPI, 6x UART, 4x I²C, 5x I²S/SSI
    • FlexCAN
    • MLB 25/50
  • Power management – Partial PMU integration,Freescale PF0200 PMIC
  • Security
    • Multicore unit includes for multi-core isolation and sharing
    • Resource Domain Controller (RDC)
    • Secure Messaging Unit (MU)
    • Hardware Semaphores
    • High Assurance Boot, cryptographic cipher engines, random number generator, and tamper detection
  • Packages – 19 x 19 mm 0.8 mm BGA;  17 x 17 mm 0.8 mm BGA (two ball map options); or 14 x 14 mm 0.65 mm BGA
  • Temperature Range
    • Consumer (Extended Commercial) –  -20C to +105C
    • Industrial – -40C to +105C
    • Automotive – -40C to +125C)

There are 13 i.MX 6SoloX parts divided into consumer, industrial and automotive categories with or without GPU, and different peripherals options as shown in the table below.

Freescale i.MX 6SoloX Family (Click to Enlarge)

Freescale i.MX 6SoloX Family (Click to Enlarge)

Documentation including datasheets, migration guide, various applications, and the full Technical Reference Manual can be freely downloaded, as well as Android 4.4.3 BSP and Linux 3.10.53 documentation. The Yocto Project has also been ported to i.MX 6SoloX (IMX6SX). The Cortex M4 core can run MQX RTOS in parallel.

SABRE-SDB Board for i.MX 6SoloX (Click to Enlarge)

“SABRE for Smart Devices”- Board based on Freescale i.MX 6SoloX (Click to Enlarge)

The company also also launched an i.MX 6SoloX version of their SABRE development board with the following key features:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX 6SoloX Cortex A9 processor @ 1GHz with Cortex M4 MCU @ 200MHz
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – 32 MB x2 QuadSPI Flash + 3x full-size SD/MMC card slots
  • Display
    • LVDS connector – Pairs with MCIMX-LVDS1 LCD display board
    • LCD expansion connector (parallel, 24-bit) – Pairs with MCIMXHDMICARD adapter board
  • Audio – Stereo audio codec; 1x 3.5mm audio ports
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports; optional Wi-Fi module
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 Host Type A connector, 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG connector
  • Other ports and I/O Expansion
    • mPCIe connector
    • 2x CAN (DB-9) connectors; Freescale MC34901 High-Speed CAN Transceiver
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG connector
  • Sensors – Freescale MMA8451 3-Axis Accelerometer, Freescale MAG3110 3D Magnetometer, ambient light sensor
  • Power Supply – 5V
  • Power Management – Freescale PF0200 PMIC
Back of SABRE i.MX 6SoloX Board (Click to Enlarge)

Back of SABRE i.MX 6SoloX Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board comes with a 5V/5A power supply, the printed quick start guide, a micro USB to USB cable, and a bootable SD card pre-loaded with a Linux image built with the Yocto Project. Android, Linux and Yocto BSP are available for the board, as well as hardware design files. Some optional hardware modules can be purchased with the board such as a 10.1″ touchscreen display (XGA resolution), an RGB to HDMI adapter, and a Wi-Fi radio card.

You can watch an overview of the board, and learn how to get started in the video below.

Freescale i.MX 6SoloX applications processors and SABRE board are both shipping in volume production, with the SoC selling for $10.84 to $13.99 in 1K quantities depending on exact SKU, and the development board priced at $399. For complete details, software and hardware documentation, visit Freescale i.MX 6SoloX and SABRE board product pages. Freescale also exhibits the solution at Embedded World, in Hall 4A, Booth 4A-220, on February 24-26, 2015.

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Freescale Unveils QorIQ LS1043A Quad core ARM Cortex A53 Communication Processor for Fanless Networking Equipment

October 22nd, 2014 5 comments

Freescale has introduced the QorIQ LS1043A communications processor, powered by four 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 cores, and destined to be integrated into “intelligent-edge networking equipment including security appliances, SDN (Software Designed Networks) / NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) edge platforms and other fanless, power-efficient applications.” A dual core version named LS1023A is also available.

QorIQ_LS1043A_Block_DiagramKey features of LS1043A and LS1023A SoCs:

  • CPU – Quad (LS1043A) or Dual (LS1023A) ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit cores @ 1 GHz to 1.5 GHz with 32/32 I/D Cache KB L1 and 1 MB L2 cache. 16,000+ CoreMarks.
  • Networking & High Speed Interfaces:
    • Up to six 1x GbE or 1x 10GbE and five x GbE
    • Four lane SerDes up to 10 GHz multiplexed across controllers supporting:
      • Three PCI Express Gen 2 interfaces
      • SATA 3.0 Interface
      • uQUICC Engine
  • Accelerators and Memory Control
  • Other peripherals
    • 3x USB 3.0 interfaces with PHY
    • QuadSPI
    • Integrated Flash Controller (IFC)
    • Quad I²C
  • Misc – QorIQ Platform’s Trust Architecture, ARM SMMU for hardware enhanced virtualization
  • Power Consumption – As low as 6W for a complete fanless system

The company provides a Linux 3.12 BSP, VortiQa  software stacks for the enterprise, SMB networking applications, security appliances, cloud equipment, etc…, and a 6-month evaluation license for CodeWarrior development tools for the company’s LS1 development platforms (no details provided). Freescale also claims third party tools and development kits are available, but did not list them, except for OpenDataPlane program developed in collaboration with Linaro LNG.

QorIQ LS1043A communications processor should start sampling in Q1 2015. More information is available on Freescale LS1043A and LS1023A product page, and QorIQ solutions are currently showcased at Linley Processor Conference, at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California, until October 23.


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