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WandPi 8M Development Board Coming Soon with NXP i.MX8M SoC for $89 and Up

November 17th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Wandboard launched in 2012 using Freescale i.MX6 Solo/Dual processor, following soon after by Wandbord Quad. We are not hearing much about those boards today, but since the processor comes with 10 to 15-year long term support, they are still being sold, and software keeps getting updated. For example, the board first shipped with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and the company recently provided Android 7.1 (Nougat) images, and Android 8.x Oreo is likely coming next year.

The company has now unveiled the next generation of Wandboard boards with WandPi 8M powered by NXP i.MX 8M Cortex A53/M4 processors, with up to 2GB DDR4, 16GB eMMC flash, and various network connectivity options and ports.

Three versions of the board (Lite, Pro, Deluxe) will be available with the following specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX8M Quad with four ARM Cortex A53 cores, a Cortex M4F real-time core, and Vivante GC7000Lite GPU with support for OpenGL/ES 3.1, OpenGL 3.0, Vulkan, OpenCL 1.2
  • System Memory / Storage
    • WANDPI-8M-LITE – 1GB DDR4 + 4GB eMMC flash
    • WANDPI-8M-PRO – 2GB DDR4 + 8GB eMMC flash
    • WANDPI-8M-DELUXE – 2GB DDR4 + 16GB eMMC flash
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • Video Decode – 4K UltraHD HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG) up to 4Kp60 for H.265, VP9, 4Kp30 for H.264, 1080p60 for MPEG2, MPEG4p2, VC1, VP8, RV9, AVS/AVS+, h.263, DiVX.
  • Connectivity

    40-pin Header Pinout Diagram

    • Gigabit Ethernet port via Atheros AR8035 chip
    • WANDPI-8M-PRO/DELUXE – Dual band 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.2 via Atheros QCA9377; MHF4 antenna connector
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion Header
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi (mostly) compatible GPIO header with I2C, UART, SPI, PWM, GPIO, SAI/I2S, 5V, 3.3V and GND
    • mikroBUS socket with SPI/I2C/UART/PWM/GPIO/Analog for MikroElectronika Click Boards (now over 250 modules)
  • Debugging – 1x micro USB port for serial console access
  • Misc – Reset button
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB type C port
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56 x 17.5 mm
  • Weight – Working on it
  • Environment / Reliability –
    • Temperature Range – 0 to 50°C
    • Humidity – 10 to 90% RH humidity
    • MTFB – 50,000 hours
    • Shock – 50G/25ms
    • Vibration – 20G/0-600Hz
  • Certifications – Compliant with CE / FCC / RoHS / REACH directives

The block diagram also reveals MIPI camera display (FPC) and MIPI camera (BTB) which are not listed in the specifications.

WandPi 8M Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Information about software is currently limited, and we just know the boards will run Linux with “open source code and binary images that are easily accessible” as well design guides and schematics just like the previous Wandboards. The company also shows some logos for the Yocto Project, Ubuntu, Android, Kodi, and Debian, so we can expect support for those.

WandPi 8M boards will ship in Q2 2018, but the company is already taking pre-orders for $89 (LITE), $99 (PRO) and $119 (DELUXE). You’ll find purchase links and a few more details on the product page. Those relatively low cost development boards could also be good news for other open source i.MX8 projects such as Purism Librem 5 smartphone, and MNT reform DIY modular laptop, as more developers may be involved on working on i.MX 8M software support.

  1. bantoto masabo sigola
    November 17th, 2017 at 13:18 | #1

    about damn time . the best soc vendor ever has came back with the perfect chip that does everything and more !

    im so happy right now cant wait ! also funded the librem 5 🙂

    it would be interesting if they also use the IMX8 (non m variant) that has the a72 chips

  2. tkaiser
    November 17th, 2017 at 15:58 | #2

    It’s great to see responsible USB usage arriving at the RPi form factor.

    Micro USB provides the serial console so really everyone is able to diagnose early boot problems with a simple Micro USB cable. And fortunately a sane powering method chosen allowing compatibility with RPi enclosures: USB-C.

    When looking at the product page it seems they also ship each board with an USB-C to A cable so the only remaining USB-C problem (shitty cables) is also solved. No more undervoltage drama any more since users should be able to get that they either use the provided cable together with a good USB PSU and when running into troubles simply buy an USB-C charger. The latter will become standard in households soon anyway.

    I really wonder why other board vendors still rely on the crappy idea called ‘Micro USB for DC-IN’…

  3. blu
    November 17th, 2017 at 16:27 | #3

    iMX8M looks great, but I wonder how etnaviv would handle GC7000.

  4. November 17th, 2017 at 16:57 | #4

    @blu
    They are working on it, and they already have a demo running if I remember correctly.

  5. November 17th, 2017 at 17:02 | #5

    @blu
    A few demos with GC7000Lite from Etnaviv developer @ https://www.youtube.com/user/wladiwump/video

    (Those who read this comment in the future should look for videos posted end of October 2017).

  6. theguyuk
    November 17th, 2017 at 19:19 | #6

    But what happens if NXP get bought by Qualcomm and they get bought by Broadcom, to many chips?

  7. blu
    November 17th, 2017 at 19:57 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Nice progress! Thanks for the heads-up!

  8. fossxplorer
    November 17th, 2017 at 20:30 | #8

    Broadcom company as an entity is after creating monopoly. They buy other entities sitting on potential monopoly IP to narrow the market options to be the king hence driving the prices up.
    Just look at all the companies they’ve bought last 5-10 years!

    I really hope NOT they are gonna buy Qualcomm nor NXP etc!

  9. Peter
    November 17th, 2017 at 21:11 | #9

    @theguyuk

    Who knows, if these deals are actually happening. There is a lot of critique from anti-trust-institutions, esp. in the EU and China…

  10. tcmichals
    November 17th, 2017 at 21:52 | #10

    Is there a way to encode video stream from camera using MPEG, or h262? Looks like IMX8M does not have HW encoders?

  11. Jon Smirl
    November 17th, 2017 at 22:43 | #11

    There have been rumors in the press that the entire iMX product line will be shut down in favor of the Snapdragon line as soon as the acquisition happens.

    iMX8 is a nice chip but it is $25+ in volume. Our entire A64 PCB costs less than $25. On the other hand their software support is 10x better than Allwinner’s.

    Specs say it can encode h.264 at 1080P60 so it has some hardware for sure.

  12. L.Peter
    November 17th, 2017 at 23:07 | #12

    Afaik Qualcomm showed middle finger to Broadcom because of the low price. Did they overbid it?

    • L.Peter
      November 18th, 2017 at 01:11 | #13

      5Ok i googled it you ment nxp acquisition by Qualcomm. I tought nxp is part of broadcom somehow. Not yet 😉

  13. theguyuk
    November 18th, 2017 at 01:43 | #14

    NXP Semiconductors N.V. is a Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The company employs approximately 45,000 people in more than 35 countries, including 11,200 engineers in 23 countries.[1] NXP reported revenue of $6.1 billion in 2015, including one month of revenue contribution from recently merged Freescale Semiconductor.[2]
    NXP Semiconductors N.V. NXP Semiconductors Logo.svg
    Type
    Public
    (Acquisition by Qualcomm pending)
    Traded as NASDAQ: NXPI
    Industry Electronics
    Founded 1953; 64 years ago
    Headquarters High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Netherlands
    Key people
    Rick Clemmer, President & CEO
    Products Semiconductors
    Revenue Increase US$ 9.5 billion (2016)
    Operating income
    Decrease US$ -150 million (2016)
    Net income
    Decrease US$ 200 million (2016)
    Number of employees
    45,000 (2016)[1]
    Website nxp.com

    On October 27, 2016, it was announced that Qualcomm would buy NXP.[3]

    Source wikipedia

  14. theguyuk
    November 18th, 2017 at 01:47 | #15

    Qualcomm is an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. It derives most of its revenue from chipmaking and the bulk of its profit from patent licensing businesses.[3] The company headquarters is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which includes the Qualcomm Technology Licensing Division (QTL). Qualcomm’s wholly owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), operates substantially all of Qualcomm’s R&D activities, as well as its product and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

    Source Wikipedia

    Shark eating Shark?

  15. theguyuk
    November 18th, 2017 at 01:56 | #16

    Broadcom Corporation was an American fabless semiconductor company that made products for the wireless and broadband communication industry. It was acquired by Avago Technologies in 2016 and currently operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of the merged entity called Broadcom Limited. The division is headquartered in Irvine, California. Broadcom Corporation was founded by professor-student pair Henry Samueli and Henry Nicholas from UCLA in 1991.

    Source Wikipedia

    When top aquatic predators start eating each other, it is a sign of not enough food in the water.

    Consolidation is King for the day, a attempt to buy market share andl licences as someone else noted.

  16. Malem
    November 18th, 2017 at 03:13 | #17

    @Jon Smirl
    Better (software) support is probably far more valuable, when you aren’t selling huge numbers or producing consumer facing products. That plus long term availability are probably the biggest selling points of the western semiconductor companies. Also from a cursory glance at the datasheet the A64 appears to lack explicit can support, pcie and the integrated Cortex-m core. I think they cater to different market segments, though of course there will be some overlap and the documentation+support might even catch up simply because of the economies of scale.

    Snapdragon replacing imx is possible with Qualcomms attempts at establishing the brand in the embedded sector, but they might just keep the imx brand and sell a hybrid chip with the best of both worlds.

  17. TLS
    November 18th, 2017 at 22:08 | #18

    @Jon Smirl
    Note that this is the iMX8M, not the iMX8, so in this case there doesn’t seem to be any kind of video encoding hardware built in – https://www.nxp.com/products/media-and-audio-processing/media-processors/multimedia-processors/i.mx-8m-family-industry-leading-audio-voice-and-video-processing:i.MX8M
    That said, the available information is fairly limited, but normally these things would be in the block diagram and it’s not there in this case.

  18. TLS
    November 18th, 2017 at 22:17 | #19

    @Jon Smirl
    The iMX8 product overview page says 1080p30 (h.264) for the iMX8M, whereas the iMX8 and iMX8X can do 1080p60 (h.264) according to that.

  19. November 22nd, 2017 at 17:21 | #20

    It looks like the official launch of i.MX8 processors will be in Q1 or Q2 2018.
    Congatec has announced i.MX8 SMARC and Qseven modules @ http://www.congatec.com/index.php?id=115&L=0&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=24291

    Few details, except the first Congatec modules and matching starter kits will be presented at Embedded World 2018 in Nuremberg (27.02.-01.03.2018)

  20. klein
    November 25th, 2017 at 09:32 | #21

    I hope nobody buy NXP, i like lpc mcu…
    but Qualcomm is ok to open source, so a lot of worst alternatives!

    maybe later can release wandpi w/ a72 imx8, similar to rk3399 but maybe better/open drivers n docs

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