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Freescale makes world smallest claim for single-chip IoT module

Steve Rogerson
June 26, 2015
 
Freescale Semiconductor introduced what it claims is the world’s smallest single chip module (SCM) for the IoT at this week’s Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) inAustin, Texas.
 
As the IoT requires more processing horsepower to be packed into ever smaller spaces, Freescale’s SCM line of products can integrate hundreds of components including processors, memory, power management and RF parts, which would otherwise be deployed on a 15cm board, into a 17 by 14 by 1.7mm package – the size of a US dime.
 
At the FTF, Freescale unveiled the first product in its SCM portfolio. Designed to function as a computer on a chip, the i.MX 6Dual SCM is enabled for DDR memory and combines the performance of the company’s i.MX 6Dual applications processor with a power management integrated circuit (PMIC), flash memory, embedded software and firmware, and system-level security technology including random number generation, cryptographic cipher engines and tamper prevention.
 
SCM products are engineered to reduce time to market, allowing an estimated 25 per cent reduction in hardware development time, as well as greater than 50 per cent reduction in size versus current discrete products. The module’s performance and connectivity allow developers targeting IoT markets to incorporate predictive data analytics capabilities into their products.
 
The modules suit applications such as 3D gaming goggles, where battery life and power are important; next-generation IoT drones requiring extreme processing performance for object recognition; and other IoT products, where advanced graphics and user interfaces are considered key to more mainstream adoption. Other markets include wearables, next-generation medical equipment and autonomous sensing applications.
 
“Early-stage companies entering the IoT and portable markets often work with limited resources and must create novel, compelling products in highly constrained form factors,” said Nancy Fares vice president at Freescale, which is currently subject to a takeover bid by Dutch company NXP. “For these and other businesses targeting highly competitive and fast-growing markets, Freescale’s SCM product line represents a major breakthrough that addresses a host of hardware and software design challenges, allowing them to begin development immediately and focus their efforts on designing highly differentiated applications and products.”
 
The SCM products are delivered as a tested and software-enabled platform for consumer and industrial applications. They feature optimised board support package stacks and are enabled for Linux and Android. The i.MX 6Dual SCM is planned for availability in August 2015 directly from Freescale, and through Arrow Electronics distribution. Additional products in the SCM product roadmap are planned for release over the next two years.