In 2015, NXP - then still known as Freescale Semiconductor - introduced a single-chip module (SCM) for the IoT that was discretely packaged as a SiP (system in package). Now, with the new IoT-on-a-chip, the SCM’s successor is about to come to market.
Leonardo Azevedo, Senior Director for i.MX Application Processors for Industrial and Consumer Markets at NXP: „IoT applications all have one thing in common: They need processors, memory and connectivity. But over and above that it‘s important that the devices are small and cost-effective.”
And it is precisely these requirements that NXP wants to address with its new family of IoT-on-a-Chip components which are intended to be easily expandable. The first product however, will not be available until the end of the year. It is based on an i.MX-6 ULL processor, which also has a WiFi module attached to it. According to Azevedo, variants with the i.MX7 and i.MX8 will be available next year as will other connectivity modules. In addition, NXP is introducing the i.MX8M Mini, which, compared to previous i.MX8 processors (28nm), is manufactured using a 14nm FinFET process.
Azevedo: „Our competitors typically use 40- or 28-nm processes for comparable components. We can achieve higher performance with our 14nm technology at reduced power consumption.“ The processors are equipped with up to four Cortex-A53 processor cores with up to 1.8GHz and a 400MHz Cortex-M4.
In addition, there are circuits for video, graphics and audio functions as well as various connectivity options for WiFi/BT, Ethernet, USB and media storage. This enables the processors to encode and decode 1080p video streams, perform GUI rendering, reproduce high quality audio, and support voice input.