Europe leads to drive Linux into edge devices with streamlined i.MX 91

Europe leads to drive Linux into edge devices with streamlined i.MX 91

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

NXP has developed an optimised Linux processor based on the ARM Cortex-A55 for embedded edge devices with several European companies taking the lead on adoption.

The i.MX91 is an optimised system on chip aimed at emerging protocols such as Matter or the ISO 15118-20 standard for electric vehicle (EV) chargers for creating new, Linux-based product categories across IoT and industrial markets.

The chip includes a 1.4GHz Cortex-A55 with support for LPDDR4 memory, dual Gigabit Ethernet for gateway or multi-network segment support; dual USB ports; and the essential I/O for products in smart factory, smart home, smart office, medical device, metering, and cost-optimized system-on-modules such as those from SECO and Variscite.

An integrated EdgeLock secure enclave provides security features such as lifecycle management, tamper detection, secure boot, and a simplified path to certifications.

“SECO welcomes the new NXP i.MX 91 applications processor, which adds scalability to our SMARC computer-on-module product family. Intended for cost sensitive edge applications, this solution enables easy deployment of a Linux-based platform with streamlined features,” said Davide Catani, Chief Technology Officer at SECO.

“Variscite is pleased to leverage its early access to NXP applications processors and release an SoM solution based on the upcoming i.MX 91 family in parallel with NXP. The SoM expands Variscite’s VAR-SOM pin2pin family and provides a great solution for low-end and price-sensitive devices,” said  Ofer Austerlitz, Vice President, Business Development and Sales at Variscite.

The VAR-SOM-MX91 includes 2GB LPDDR4 memory, dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual USB, dual CAN-FD, audio in/out, ADC, certified single or dual-band Wi-Fi, BT/BLE, and display output. This is part of the VAR-SOM Pin2Pin family which enables compatibility with a wide range of SoMs based on different processors and performances, starting from i.MX6UL modules, through iMX6, i.MX 8M/ Mini/ Nano/ Plus, i.MX93 and AM625x, up to the high-performance i.MX 8X and i.MX 8QuadMax.

The i.MX 91 family is available with NXP’s co-developed and cost-optimized power management chips, available as part of the i.MX 93 family ecosystem and the evaluation kits and software packages integrate with NXP’s wireless chips including the IW612 monolithic tri-radio family that supports Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 802.15.4 for Matter.

“Building on the popularity of i.MX 6UL and i.MX 6ULL applications processors, the i.MX 91 applications processor is a good addition for users who want to rely on a cost-effective but more powerful and modern platform. The high-speed interfaces such as TSN and Gigabit Ethernet, EdgeLock secure enclave and more computing performance for many edge applications allow the new modules to provide an optimal platform for applications such as gateways, controls in building and industrial automation, time and attendance systems, medical devices in diagnostics and elevator controls,” said Konrad Zöpf, Deputy Director for TQ Embedded and Product Management at TQ-Systems.

“Our new i.MX 91 family will provide the foundation for thousands of new device classes, with its high performance, connectivity and EdgeLock secure enclave setting a new standard for Linux platforms across IoT and industrial applications,” said Charles Dachs, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Industrial and IoT Edge, at NXP. “The i.MX 91 family enables the rapid development of platforms that may easily pivot into new markets and new applications, leveraging existing investments and streamlining product line updates.”

“As one of the early access partners for the i.MX 91 applications processor, we continue our longstanding cooperation with NXP. The extremely low power consumption of the new i.MX 91 family is perfectly suited for price-sensitive headless applications and extends the scalability of our i.MX 9 series-based SMARC and OSM portfolio, with a successor for existing NXP ultra-low power platforms,” said Jens Plachetka, Manager Board Platforms at Avnet Embedded.

“The scalable platform with i.MX 93 SoC simplifies development and reduces difficulties for customers to expand their products. As an NXP Gold Partner, Forlinx has maintained close communication with NXP since the early stage of the i.MX 91 family development. We believe that the launch of the i.MX 91 family will bring customers more high-performance, cost-effective, and secure solutions. In the future, Forlinx will continue to work together with NXP to provide customers a comprehensive and proven software and hardware ecosystem,” said Fei Liang, CTO of Forlinx.

To help ensure a stable supply of products for embedded designs, all i.MX 8 series and i.MX 9 series products are guaranteed for a minimum of 15 years of availability as members of the NXP product longevity program.

NXP expects to enable select customers with i.MX 91 development platforms in 2H23 as part of the early access program.

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