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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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:
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
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)
24-bit parallel RGB
MIPI DSI (2 lanes)
EPD controller (7Dual only)
Parallel CSI (up to 24-bit)
MIPI CSI (2 lanes)
1 or 2 USB 2.0 host (w/ PHY), 1x USB 2.0 host interface (w/ HSIC)
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
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.
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 (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
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
20-bit parallel CMOS sensor interface
NTSC/PAL analog video input interface
GPU – Vivante GC400T 3D GPU supporting OpenGL ES 2.0. 27Mtri/s & 133Mpxl/s and 2D GPU
Power management – Partial PMU integration,Freescale PF0200 PMIC
Multicore unit includes for multi-core isolation and sharing
Resource Domain Controller (RDC)
Secure Messaging Unit (MU)
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
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)
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 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:
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.
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.
Key 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:
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.
Freescale has just launched a an IoT gateway reference design powered by their QorIQ LS1021A communication processors running Linux/OpenWRT, designed in partnership with TechNexion, and targeting various IoT applications such as building/home management, smart cities, networked industrial services, etc… Beside the dual core Cortex A7 QoirIQ processor, the board features six Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a SATA 3 port, two mini PCIe connector, an LVDS interface, HDMI output, Arduino UNO compatible headers, and various others expansions headers.
IoT Gateway Reference Design Board (Click to Enlarge)
MCU – Freescale Kinetis K20 Cortex M micro-controller
System Memory – 1 GB DDR3L
Storage – 1 Gb QSPI NOR Flash, SDHC slot (up to 32 GB) populated with a 4GB SD card, 1x mSATA 3 slot
Connectivity – 6x Gigabit ports via SGMII (Serial Gigabit Media Independent Interface) and RGMII (Reduced Gigabit Media Independent Interface) interfaces
24-bit LVDS LCD interface muxed with QE UART (QUICCEngine UART) to header for PROFIBUS or RS485 (external transceiver required)
Audio I/F – Audio in and out
USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2 mini port, and USB signals via mini PCIe interfaces
Expansions and I/Os:
Arduino UNO compatible headers with I2C, SPI, Analog in, etc..
1x Terminal (USB to UART)
Header with 1x Four wire LP-UART to Arduino connector (ZigBee), SPI, and ADC
GPIO expansion header
GPIO, Flextimer, and CAN header
2x mini PCIe (x1) slots
1x SPI, 2x I2C
13x GPIO or 8x FTM (PWM)
Sensors – MMA8451Q 3-axis MEMS sensor
Certification – FCC Class B and CE
Power Supply – 12V. MC32VR500 regulator. Under 3 watts typical power consumption.
Dimensions – 20.3 x 17.8 x 6.4 cm (full system with enclosure)
The full kit include the board, a metallic enclosure, a 12V/5A power supply, a micro USB cable, and HDMI cables, and SD card with software and documentation. The company provide Linux and OpenWRT for the board, reference design files (schematics, layout, and BOM), as well as an hardware quick start guide and a user guide.
LSIoT Gateway Block Diagram
Freescale StarterTRAK development boards are based on the company’s Kinetis EA Cortex M0+ MUCs or Qorivva 32-bit MCU targeting automotive applications with support a wide temperature range (–40° to +125°C) and interfaces such as LIN (Local Interconnect Network) and CAN. These development boards can be used for body and security, powertrain, and safety & chassis applications. Freescale has decided to giveaway 60 StarterTRACK development board to random winners, so if you are knowledgeable in this field it could be an opportunity to try the platform. There will be 5 different kits given away, all based on Kinetis MCU: TRK‐KEA8, TRK‐KEA64, TRK‐KEA128, KEA128LEDLIGHTRD and KEA128BLDCRD. Let’s have a closer look at TRK-KEA128 development board.
TRK-KEA Boards Description (SCI Selector is not available on TRK-KEA128)
Key features and specifications of TRK-KEA128 board:
MCU – Kinetis KEA128 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48MHz with 16KB RAM and 128KB flash in a 80 LQFP package
On-board openSDA debugging and programming circuit using the PK20DX128 MCU
LIN communications interface
Analog interface with ambient light sensor
4 high efficiency LEDs
2 push buttons
SCI serial communication interface (sharing the openSDA interface)
CAN communications interface
Kinetis EA MCU Block Diagram
The development kit includes a TRK-KEA128 board, a DVD with CodeWarrior software, a USB cable, TRK-KEA Quick Start Guide, and Freescale Warranty Card. Schematics, BoM, as applications notes are also provided by the company. Automotive application possible with this board include HVAC, doors, window lift and seat control, parking breaks, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), and more. They can also be used to control brushless DC motors. Full details can be found on TRK-KEA128 page.
If you’d like the board you can either spend $49, or try your luck for with giveaway. The constest is open to individuals who are at least 18 years old and resident in a non‐U.S.‐embargoed country, expect residents of Canada. To enter, simply fill that form with your name, email, and country of residence. That’s all, no question about your potential project is even asked. The draw will take place on September 24, 2014.
Power – Via micro USB, single cell 500 mAh LiPo battery connected to WaRPboard, or Wireless Charging via daughterboard
There are also two optional displays LCD LH154Q01 and E-ink ET017QC1 that will be available for the board.
WaRPboard + Daughter Board Block Diagram
The board can be used to develop applications for various type of wearables including activity trackers, sports/heart rate monitors, smartwatches, ECG monitoring, smart glasses, smart clothing, wearable imaging devices, augmented reality headsets, wearable computing and wearable healthcare devices.
Android 4.3 operating system will run on Freescale i.MX 6SoloLite, and a Standard Android SDK will be provided. At this time, there’s still not much other details about software, firmware, hardware design files, and documentation, except the hardware and software will be full open sourced, development can be done with open source development tools without licensing fees needed, and all will be managed via WaRPboard.org community.If you want more information or have questions, you may want to head over WaRPboard Google Group.
As mentioned on the introduction, the board can be pre-order for $149 now, and shipping is expected in September. Depending on your destination. shipping costs can be pretty expensive, as it would cost nearly $100 to ship to Thailand via UPS. The only other shipping option being to pick it up in Texas for free… I can’t find the optional displays in Boardzoo.