Freescale Vybrid Controllers: Cortex A5 + Cortex M4 Solutions

Freescale announced the new Vybrid platform based on Cortex A5 application processor and Cortex-M4 MCU (VF6xx and VF7xx family only) which targets building/home automation and control, industrial automation, point-of-sale systems, medical devices, smart energy equipment, and appliances.

Cortex A5 + Cortex M4 Processor
Freescale Vybrid Controllers Comparison

There are 5 families of Vybrid Controllers which support the following common features:

  • Video/Camera Interface Unit + optional OpenVG GPU (except VF3xx)
  • Up to 800 MHz data rate DDR3 and LPDDR2 support (except VF3xx)
  • USB 2.0 OTF with Integrated PHY (1 or 2 depending on model)
  • Ethernet 10/100 MAC (1 or 2 depending on model)
  • Display controller (WQVGA to XGA resolutions)
  • High-assurance boot with Crypto Acceleration
  • Up to 1.5 MB on chip SRAM
  • NAND Flash controller and Dual Quad-SPI with eXecute-In-Place(XIP)
  • Dual 12-bit ADC and DAC

Here are the 5 families of Vybrid platforms and key differentiating features:

  • VF3xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up to 266 MHz, 1x USB 2.0 OTG, 2x Ethernet, display up to WQVGA resolution (400 x 240)
  • VF4xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up to 500 MHz, 2x USB 2.0 OTG, 1x Ethernet, display up to XGA resolution (1024 x 768)
  • VF5xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up to 500 MHz, 2x USB 2.0 OTG, 2x Ethernet,display up to XGA resolution (1024 x 768)
  • VF6xx: ARM Cortex-A5  up to 500MHz and Cortex-M4, 2x USB 2.0 OTG, 2x Ethernet, display  up to XGA resolution (1024×768)
  • VF7xx: ARM Cortex-A5 up to 500 MHz and Cortex-M4, 2x USB 2.0 OTG, 1x Ethernet, display up to XGA resolution (1024 x 768) and Video ADC

The lower-end devices (VF3xx to VF5xx) target low power application processing, whereas high-end solutions (VF6xx and VF7xx) target high-resolution graphical displays, connectivity and real-time support.

Freescale Cortex A5 + Cortex M4 Block Diagram
Freescale VF7xx Block Diagram

The Vybrid platform supports operating systems such as Linux and Freescale MQX RTOS either running one at a time or concurrently (e.g Linux on Cortex A5 and  MQX RTOS on Cortex M4).  Freescale will also provides a set of software stacks via its MQX Solutions including acommunication (RTCS), file system (MFS)  and USB host/device stacks. Supported development tools include ARM DS5 and Freescale MQX Design and Development Tools.

The Freescale Vybrid platform and corresponding software and tools will be available in Q3 2012 (first samples in Q2 2012). I could not find information about development boards for the time being. They will use a Virtual Hardware Platform for development at this stage and demo the platform this week at Design West.

You may be able to find more information on Freescale Vybrid Controller Solutions page.  For in-depth details about the Freescale Vybrid platform, you can read the 68-page BeyongBits issue fully dedicated to the subject.
Although Cortex A5 core has been announced in 2009 and officially released in 2010, Freescale Vybrid platform appears to be one of the rare solution (the only?) to feature an ARM Cortex A5, you may want to read the following Cortex A5 presentation (Thanks Guillaume!) to learn more about it and its target applications (Mobile, STB, networking, PoS…).
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