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Cortex-A9 hardware/softare dev platform supports Android 4.0

Jan 4, 2012 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Intrinsyc announced a hardware/software development platform for Freescale's Cortex-A9-based, dual-core i.MX 6 processor, offering support for Android 4.0 and Windows Mobile 6.5. The Open-6 Design and Production Platform combines a development kit, a wireless telephony stack, and a reference platform with a capacitive multitouch display, cameras, sensors, and wireless radios.

Intrinsyc has long been a partner of Freescale Semiconductor, producing a Cerfboard 35 computer module and carrier board for the ARM11-based i.MX35 system on chip (SoC) in 2009. The company followed up with a software reference platform aimed at tablets designed for the chipmaker's ARM Cortex-A8-based i.MX53 in 2010. 

The Open-6 Design and Production Platform (DPP) turns to Freescale's latest Cortex-A9-based i.MX 6 SoC (pictured), which is available in single, dual, and quad-core versions with clock rates of up to 1.2GHz (see farther below for background). While Intrinsyc's earlier Freescale products supported Linux and either Windows CE or Windows Mobile, Open-6 DPP offers board support packages (BSPs) for Windows Mobile 6.5 and the latest Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich").

Open-6 DPP is defined as a licensable production package for mobile device development in vertical markets. Potential devices include tablets, e-readers, automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), and industrial handhelds, says Intrinsyc.

Open-6 DPP includes production software in source format and a "cost optimized" hardware design that can be licensed by OEMs and ODMs, says Intrinsyc. The development kit is available for both device manufacturers and application developers, and can be used to evaluate, develop, test, and deploy applications on i.MX 6 based devices, says the company.

The kit includes connectivity solutions for 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, built around its RapidRIL wireless telephony platform, says Intrinsyc. RapidRIL is said to accelerate Radio Interface Layer (RIL) development on connected devices with out-of-the-box modem support. Barnes & Noble used RapidRIL to help develop the Android stack for the Nook e-reader, and the platform was also adopted by MIPS Technologies to enable 3.5G voice telephony on MIPS- and Android-based mobile devices.

Intrinsyc RapidRIL architecture

Intrinsyc offered relatively few details on its "fully certified" production hardware. The platform combines an i.MX 6 SoC — number of cores not detailed — with a capacitive multitouch display of undisclosed size. Daylight readability enhancements are available as an option, says the company.

The hardware platform includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, as well as options for 3G and 4G radios. Multiple high resolution cameras and sensors are available, as well, says Intrinsyc. The platform is supported with power management functionality, as well as Intrinsyc's i.Device Manager technology, says the company.

i.MX6 background

Freescale'si.MX6 SoC family was announced in January 2011 as a multicore Cortex-A9 platform for tablets, smartphones, IVI systems, and other embedded devices. The single-core i.MX 6Solo, dual-core i.MX 6Dual, and quad-core i.MX 6Quad are all clocked at 1.2GHz.

The i.MX6 series uses 40nm fabrication and provides low power draw and advanced power management capabilities, says Freescale. For example, the SoC is claimed to enable 1080p video (single stream) with only 350mW consumption. The i.MX6 also supports dual-stream 1080p video playback at 60 frames per second (fps) and 3D video playback at 50Mbps, according to the company.

Stated Rajeev Kumar, product line manager for the Multimedia Applications Division at Freescale, "Combined with Intrinsyc's deep expertise in both Android and Windows Embedded development [Open-6 DPP] will significantly reduce OEM risk in the adoption of new i.MX 6 designs."


Open-6 DPP is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2012. Intrinsyc will present the design and detailed specifications to prospective customers at the Consumer Electronics Show next week under NDA, with initial prototypes expected to be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in February. More information should eventually appear on Intrinsyc's development hardware page.

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