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NXP Pushes i.MX8M Mini to 14nm

March 27, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

NXP is expanding its i.MX media-processor family with lower-cost i.MX8M Mini processors. Some of these newcomers will supersede existing i.MX6 products that are popular in consumer electronics and other embedded systems. These are also the company’s first chips manufactured in Samsung’s 14nm FinFET technology.

Little wonder that NXP is devoting more attention to i.MX. For the i.MX6 family alone, it claims more than 3,500 customers (including those won through distribution). Responding to demand for lower-cost products, the company recently announced the i.MX8M Mini lineup. Sporting one to four ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs plus a Cortex-M4F microcontroller core, these processors are scheduled to sample in 2Q18 and reach production by the end of the year. They also integrate GPU cores for 2D and 3D graphics, and some have video acceleration.

The i.MX processors integrate a smorgasbord of features to address a variety of applications. Even these economical Minis are well appointed. With their GPUs and Cortex-M4F coprocessor—which can serve as a sensor hub—they can enable a human/machine interface (HMI) on nearly any commercial, industrial, or consumer device. The Mini models with a video engine can encode and decode video streams for videoconferencing, surveillance cameras, and machine-vision inspection systems. Using the Cortex-A53s or Cortex-M4F for audio processing, they’re suited to many digital-audio applications, including surround-sound systems, networked speakers, sound bars, audio/video receivers, and public-address systems. NXP also targets voice control and voice assistants, providing reference designs for consumer products and for noisy industrial environments.

To broaden their appeal for IoT devices, the company has disclosed plans to stack radio modules on some i.MX chips. The first such product will be based on the i.MX 6ULL application processor, but future products may use the i.MX8M Mini.

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