Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

CNX Software Year 2021

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first WiFi IoT RISC-V chips with ESP32-C3 and BL602, Alibaba making […]

Actinius launches nRF9160 SoM and XBee module with NB-IoT, LTE Cat-M, and GPS

nRF9160 Xbee Module

Last year, Actinius launched Icarus IoT Board equipped with nRF9160 SiP providing GPS & NB-IoT connectivity in Adafruit Feather form factor. The company is now back with more compact Nordic Semi nRF9160 hardware, namely the tiny 28×18.5mm Icarus SoM with built-in eSIM, as well as Icarus Bee XBee module that incorporates Icarus SoM plus a nano-SIM slot, as well as an RGB LED and a user button. Icarus SoM The module comes with the following specifications: SiP – Nordic Semi nRF9160-SICA system-in-package with Arm Cortex-M33 MCU, 1024 KB flash, 256 KB SRAM, and LTE-M (eMTC), NB-IoT, and GPS  connectivity Storage – 64Mbit SPI flash On-board eSIM Antennas – 2x u.FL connectors for LTE and GPS Sensor – Accelerometer I/Os – 2x 20 castellated holes with GPIOS, I2C, SWD, Reset, SIM card signals, and power pins Supply Voltage – 3.3V Dimensions  – 28 x 18.5 mm The multi-layer module is designed to help customers simplify their design and bring products faster […]

Notecard LTE Cat-M / NB-IoT M.2 modem sells for $49+ with 10 years of connectivity

Notecard LTE Modem

If the IoT is ever going to take off, it needs low-cost hardware and connectivity. LoRaWAN is free, apart from the hardware costs, but for projects that need wider coverage and/or higher bitrate cellular connectivity is the way to go and we’ve seen in the past that Hologram offers a free developer SIM card for global IoT projects plus some low-cost cellular IoT plans, as well as 1CNE plans to offer a 10-year plan for 10 Euros. Blues Wireless has taken a different approach as they combine hardware and cellular connectivity with their Notecard LTE-IoT modems (LTE Cat 1/Cat M or NB-IoT) shipping for 10 years of connectivity for up to 500MB data. Notecard has four variants with the following key features and specifications: MCU – Arm Cortex-M4 MCU with 2MB flash Cellular connectivity NOTE-NBGL-500 – Narrowband Cat-M/NB-IoT/GPRS (Global) via  Quectel BG95-M3 modem NOTE-NBNA-500 – Narrowband Cat-M/NB-IoT (North America) via Quectel BG95-M1 modem NOTE-WBEX-500 – LTE Cat-1 (Global) via Quectel […]

Sequans Monarch 2 GM02S LTE IoT module is “5G-ready” for “Massive IoT”

Monarch 2 GM02S 5G-Ready Massive IoT

A couple of days ago, Sequans published a press release announcing the availability of Monarch 2 GM02S “5G-ready” LTE-M/NB-IoT module with power consumption further reduced by 60 percent, featuring an GSMA-compliant integrated SIM (ieUICC), and designed for “Massive IoT” applications. Wait… What is “Massive IoT”? Ericsson explains: Massive IoT refers to applications that are less latency sensitive and have relatively low throughput requirements, but require a huge volume of low-cost, low-energy consumption devices on a network with excellent coverage. The growing popularity of IoT use cases in domains that rely on connectivity spanning large areas, and are able to handle a huge number of connections, is driving the demand for massive IoT technologies. I see… That’s what I used to call LPWAN (Low-power wide-area network) applications, but for sure “Massive IoT” sounds much more cool. Monarch 2 GM02S Let’s go back to the module with Sequans Monarch 2 GM02S key features and specifications: MCU – Unnamed application MCU for customer […]

NuMaker-IoT-M263A board is the Swiss army knife of IoT development

NuMaker-IoT-M263A

If you’d like an MCU board to experiment with various wireless (and wired) protocols used for Internet of Things applications, the Nuvoton NuMaker-IoT-M263A development board may be worth a look. Powered by a NuMicro M263KIAAE Arm Cortex-M23 CPU microcontroller, the board offers WiFi, Bluetooth, and LoRa connectivity, plus an mPCIe socket for 3G, 4G, or NB-IoT cellular connectivity. It also comes with various sensors, as well as CAN and RS485 transceivers for industrial control applications. NuMaker-IoT-M263A key features and specifications: MCU – Novoton NuMicro M263KIAAE Arm Cortex-M23 microcontroller @ 64 MHz with 96KB SRAM, 512 KB  dual-bank flash for OTA upgrade, 4 KB LDROM; LQFP128 package Storage – MicroSD card connector On-board wireless modules ESP12-F (ESP8266) 802.11b/g/n module MDBT42Q-PAT Bluetooth 4.2/5.0 LE module APC1278 (for 408 / 433 / 470 MHz)  LoRa module plus antenna Serial – CAN and RS485 transceiver USB – 1x Micro USB OTG connector (to M263 MCU) Sensors BME680 4-in-1 air quality sensor measuring relative humidity, […]

Modberry 500 CM4 DIN Rail Industrial Computer Features Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Modberry 500 CM4 DIN Rail industrial computer

We’ve been writing about Techbase Modberry industrial embedded computers with DIN-Rail enclosures such as Modberry M500 or M2000 for several years. Most of their systems are powered by SBC’s like Raspberry Pi 4 or AAEON Up Squared, but they’ve also made models based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+, and with the launch of Raspberry Pi CM4, the company has now introduced Modberry 500 CM4 industrial computer powered by Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with up to 8GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash. Modberry 500 CM4 key features and specifications: SoM – Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 1 to 8GB RAM, up to 32GB eMMC flash. Storage – Optional NVMe SSD via PCIe 2.0 (mini PCIe or optional M.2 slot) Video Output – Optional HDMI port Connectivity Optional Gigabit Ethernet port Optional Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac) & Bluetooth 5.0 Optional 5G, 4G/LTE, 3G, or NB-IoT modem plus on-board SIM card socket […]

Tiny, Waterproof AirBolt GPS Tracker Works with LTE-M and NB-IoT Cellular Networks (Crowdfunding)

Airbolt GPS

We’ve previously covered small waterproof LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT GPS trackers such as Mictrack MT825, but AirBolt GPS tracker offers another option and promises an even longer battery life of up to 12 months. At 37 x 34 x 11mm, AirBolt GPS may also be the world’s smallest waterproof GPS tracker on the market, as well as the lightest at just 21 grams, both of which are characteristics that make the tracker especially suitable for pets like cats and dogs, as well as track luggage, keys, bicycles, etc… AirBolt GPS tracker key features and specifications: SoC(s) Unnamed, but considering Nordic Semi is listed as a partner it should be nRF9160 SiP with Arm Cortex-M33 MCU core, 1024 KB flash, 256 KB SRAM, NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, and GPS connectivity There’s also Bluetooth 5.1 so one of the nRF52 chips might also be included. Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1 with long-range and direction-finding support Cellular – Worldwide support via NB-IoT and LTE […]

Monarch Go Pi HAT Adds LTE Cat M1 Connectivity to Raspberry Pi Board

Monarch Go Pi HAT

After introducing Renesas ZMOD4410 Indoor Air Quality HAT for Raspberry Pi earlier this month, Avnet is back with another Raspberry Pi HAT namely Monarch Go Pi HAT that adds LTE Cat M1 connectivity to Raspberry Pi boards and other compatible SBC’s with a 40-pin GPIO header. The expansion board gets its name from Sequans Monarch Go LTE-M modem itself based on the Sequans Monarch GM01Q LTE IoT module that supposed to support both LTE Cat M1 (eMTC) and NB-IoT. The solution is certified by various operators in North America, Europe, and Asia, and ships with a Verizon ThingsSpace IoT SIM. Monarch Go Pi HAT specifications: LTE IoT Connectivity Sequans Monarch Go LTE modem with  Cat-M1 (& NB-IoT?) connectivity Pre-installed Verizon ThingsSpace IoT SIM USB – Micro USB port for debugging and programming Expansion MikroElektronika shuttle click site with 3.3V I/O:  I2C, SPI, GPIO, UART Voltage I/O translator – 1.8V to 3.3V Dimensions – Raspberry Pi HAT Compatible The kit includes […]