Microsoft Introduces Azure Sphere OS Linux Operating System for Certified Microcontrollers (MediaTek MT3620 for now)

Last year, Microsoft announced they were working with Mediatek on Project Sopris Secure WiFi MCU, based on Mediatek MT7687 MIPS microcontroller with 7 properties enhancing security (Hardware-based Root of Trust, failure reporting etc…).

The company has now unveiled a complete secure IoT solution with Azure Sphere comprised of three main components:

  • Azure Sphere certified secured MCUs which combine real-time and application cores with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity. The first compatible MCU will be Mediatek MT3620, which differs from MIPS based Project Sopris, as it features one Cortex A7 and two Cortex M4 cores as well as WiFi connectivity.

    Azure Sphere MCU

  • Azure Sphere OS that provides  four layers on top of the hardware: security  monitor, custom Linux kernel, on-chip connectivity services to Azure Sphere Security Service, and app containers for computer (A7 core) or/and real-time I/Os (M4 cores).

  • Azure Sphere Security Service, a secure cloud service for Azure Sphere device that brokers trust for device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication through certificate-based authentication. The service can also detect security threats thanks to online failure reporting, and update security through software/firmware updates.

Azure Sphere should be found in various IoT applications including in the white goods, agriculture, energy and infrastructure sectors, and Microsoft claims three benefits the solution namely: security, productivity (e.g. via Visual Studio development), and opportunity …

Beside Mediatek, other silicon vendors are involved in bringing Azure Sphere certified MCUs including NXP semiconductor,  Nuvoton, Qualcomm,  STMicro, Silicon Labs, and others. Seeed Studio is also listed as a partner, which probably a development kit should be launched in due time.

But for now, Azure Sphere is still in private preview, and development kits are expected in mid 2018, and end products should start selling by the end of 2018. You’ll find some limited information on the product page.

Via Liliputing

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5 Replies to “Microsoft Introduces Azure Sphere OS Linux Operating System for Certified Microcontrollers (MediaTek MT3620 for now)”

  1. As pointed out by somebody in G+, while the Mediatek MCU/processor has 3 user-accessible cores it also has two “hidden” cores. Taken from the product page:

    Pluton Security System

    Outside of these three end-user accessible cores, MT3620 contains an isolated security subsystem with its own Arm Cortex-M4F core that handles secure boot and secure system operation. In addition, a 1×1 dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio subsystem is controlled by a dedicated Andes N9 32-bit RISC core. This subsystem contains radio, baseband and MAC that is designed to allow high throughput applications with great power efficiency.

    1. And the whole ‘security’ theater might be just like with smartphones: People discuss the security issues of the secondary OS (Android, iOS) while the platform is fully owned by and hackable through the RTOS running on the baseband processor 🙂

  2. ” Microsoft recruits ST, Renesas, NXP, Microchip and Qualcomm for Azure MCU kits

    STMicroelectronics, Renesas, NXP, Microchip and Qualcomm have signed up to offer 32bit MCU development kits featuring Microsoft’s Azure RTOS ThreadX, one of the components of the its Azure RTOS embedded application development suite. ”


    Still going strong

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