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Marvell launches IoT hardware prototyping products

Steve Rogerson
July 2, 2015
 
Bermuda-based Marvell Technology has brought Javascript to what it claims are the smallest devices ever with an implementation of Javascript sixth edition in the open source Kinoma JS application framework. The company is also introducing two hardware prototyping products for IoT innovators, due to be available towards the end of the year.
 
Kinoma Element is instantly and always connected, interfaces with off-the-shelf sensors, and is for prototyping embedded devices poised for mass production. Kinoma HD is a scriptable stick that transforms any HD screen into a display for IoT devices, handhelds, the cloud and web content.
 
“Technology enabling the smart lifestyle must be easy to use, seamlessly connected and beautifully responsive,” said Weili Dai, president of Marvell. “It also needs to be open source to give the developers of elegant, high-performance products the interoperability, flexibility and stability that open source offers. The open source Kinoma JS application framework is our most advanced software technology for customers, partners and developers building on Marvell silicon.”
 
Javascript has the most momentum of any professional programming language because it is easy to get started with, fast and forgiving. Its continuously evolving developer base for the web, growing adoption server-side and rich potential in IoT position it as the dominant language of choice for many programmers.
 
The sixth edition was the biggest update to the language since it was invented. The update, formally known as Ecmascript Sixth Edition or ES6, contains more than 400 individual changes to make the language more concise, improve performance and integrate support for modules. The addition of modules to the language is fundamental to architecting reliable, long running devices, making it suitable for connecting IoT products.
 
The Kinoma XS6 Javascript engine is said to be the smallest implementation of Javascript. Running on devices with as little as 512kbyte of RAM, the power and convenience of Javascript is now practical on mass-market consumer hardware. Enhancements in the implementation deliver application start-up improvements of fourfold over Kinoma’s implementation of Javascript fifth edition, and efficient binding to native C code connects to OS and hardware features.
 
“The software tools used to develop embedded hardware products typically lag leading edge software development by many years,” said Peter Hoddie, Kinoma VP at Marvell Semiconductor. “IoT developers want the benefits of the latest language improvements, but the memory and CPU performance requirements put it out of the reach of mass-market hardware. With the XS6 engine in Kinoma JS, we are bringing the latest advances in Javascript to embedded developers before they arrive on the web.”
 
The first of thetwo connected hardware prototyping products is Kinoma Element, said to be the smallest Javascript-powered embedded product prototyping platform. Built around Marvell’s MW302 wireless microcontroller system-on-chip that combines a 200MHz CPU, 512kbyte of RAM and Wifi, it is designed to connect products to the cloud, mobile and other IoT devices.
 
With a pair of eight pin expansion ports, it is endlessly configurable to the ideas and plans of prototypers. It works with off-the-shelf sensors, lights, motors and actuators, which are programmed with the same Javascript hardware pins module in Kinoma Create.
 
Execute in place (XiP) technology is key to running Javascript applications on a device with only 512kbyte of RAM. The Cortex M4 in Kinoma Element saves RAM by using XiP to run native ARM code directly from flash memory. The XS6 Javascript Engine runs scripts directly from flash memory by implementing XiP for Javascript byte code. This combination of XiP for both native and byte code frees the majority of RAM in Kinoma Element for application data.
 
Kinoma Element can take ideas from drawing board to prototype through to mass production using Marvell’s microcontroller line, which has been adopted by numerous companies for IoT products including August, Blossom, iHome, Rheem, Whirlpool and Xiaomi.
 
The second product is Kinoma HD, a scriptable stick for developers who want to display visually rich content on the biggest displays. Its HDMI output plugs into an HD capable display, connecting wirelessly to IoT devices, iOS and Android handhelds, cloud services, and content from web-based apps. The stick is plug-and-play once slotted into a display’s full-sized HDMI port, hooked up to a USB power supply and connected to a Wifi network.
 
The thumb-sized device is powerful enough to handle rich media presentations of an IoT ecosystem. For example, with Kinoma HD, developers can provide an engaging visual experience of IoT product performance and sensor data.
 
“We envision a quickly approaching future where smart furnishings transform the traditional tabletops and walls in our homes and workplaces into interactive displays and live content command centres,” said Dai. “Kinoma HD is the ideal solution for developers making this future a reality.”
 
It has 256Mbyte of RAM, is connected with Wifi g/n/ac and has HDMI output of 1080p, 720p. Kinoma HD is built on Marvell’s 88DE3006 1.2GHz dual-core system-on-chip, which is part of its Armada 1500 family of video processors found in mainstream consumer electronics products by Google, LGE and Swisscom.