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Freescale unveils heterogeneous application processor

23 Jun 2015  | R. Colin Johnson

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The i.MX 7, which is already being evaluated for design-ins at up to 10 e-Readers, smarthome- and industrial-controller plus wearable makers, delivers core power efficiency of 15.7 Dhrystone MIPS per milliWatt, has hardware encryption/decryption and other security features on-chip including elliptic curve cryptography, active tamper detection, secure boot and hardware firewalls between on-chip modules, making it suitable for the high-security requirements of point-of-sale devices. Its relatively small footprint and power requirements also make it suitable for other battery-powered devices besides e-Readers, such as fitness and health monitors, smartwatches, industrial remote monitoring and control, and a plethora of embedded apps.

When devices are idle, but ready for instant power-up to run mode, the i.MX 7 consumes only 250µA, according to Martino and can be awoken by an on-chip timer or a GPIO (general purpose input/output line). The i.MX 7Dual model with dual ARM Cortex-A7 cores also has dual Ethernet gigabit with audio-visual bridging (AVB) support. Both Single- and Dual-A7 models include external memories interfaces for eMMC5.0, LowPower-DDR3 and are available in 19mm x19mm or 12mm x 12mm packages. Both will be in full production by the fourth quarter of 2015. Samples are available now.

Evaluation board

Freescale's evaluation board houses the i.MX 7Dual application processor, with dual ARM Cortex-A7 processors plus a Cortex-M4 processors, along with the PF3000 power management chip which supports multiple 1V to 5V outputs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and more. (Source: Freescale)

The development board, which will be available when the i.MX 7 ships this fall, contains an i.MX 7Dual, PF3000 power manager, Wi-Fi chip, Bluetooth low power chip, USB, GPIO and all the usual serial interfaces, plus a socket for the plug from an electronic paper display and either Linux or Android preinstalled.

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