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Super-tiny SBC runs Android on Freescale i.MX6 SoC

Aug 30, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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InHand Electronics announced a 2.5 x 2.5-inch embedded computer board that runs Android 4.2 on Freescale quad- or dual-core i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 system-on-chips. The tiny Fury-F6 module integrates controllers for HDMI and LVDS video, gigabit Ethernet, serial, USB, CAN, MIPI-CSI, and much more, but omits on-board I/O connectors to save space and is supported with expansion board and development platform options.

The Fury-F6 is a follow-on to InHand’s Texas Instruments DM3730-based Fury SBC, and it appears to make use of the same development platform. The Fury-F6 development platform includes an enclosure, a 4.1-inch touchscreen, and an expansion daughter card, which appears to be the same as or similar to the separately available Muse-F6 expansion board (see farther below).



Fury-F6 SBC and its development platform
(click images to enlarge)

 

The Fury-F6 exchanges the original Fury’s TI OMAP/Sitara processor for Freescale’s dual- or quad-core i.MX6 SoC clocked to 1.2GHz. InHand also provides a Siren-F6 model that uses a single-core i.M6X, although no more details were supplied.

The Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 includes NEON extensions and supports 1080p30 video and OpenGL 3D graphics. Whereas the original Fury runs Linux, Android 2.2, or Windows Embedded Compact 6.0, the Fury-F6 skips the Linux and ships only with Android, although custom Windows Embedded versions are also said to be available.


Fury-F6 functions
(click to enlarge)

The Fury-F6 measures just 2.5 inches on each side, and in many ways resembles a computer-on-module (COM) more than a single-board-computer (SBC), since it lacks real-world ports and can’t run without being plugged into a baseboard or companion card. The tiny board is offered with up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM and up to 32GB of flash. The module includes support for its gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and dual LVDS functions, but apparently needs to be plugged into an expansion board or custom application baseboard for access to its numerous other I/O features. LVDS resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 and dual-display operation are supported, says the company.

Other interfaces include USB 2.0 host and OTG ports, and a variety of serial interfaces including three I2C interfaces. You’ll also find camera, CAN bus, audio, and SD interfaces, among others. Refer to the specifications list below and the functional block pictorial at the right for more details.

Specifications listed for the Fury-F6 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 (2x or 4x Cortex-A9 cores @ 1.2GHz)
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3; 16GB or 32 GB eMMC NAND flash
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet MAC+PHY
  • I/O available via an expansion board:
    • 2x SDHC v.3.0
    • 2x UARTs
    • 3x I2C
    • SPI
    • 3x USB 2.0
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • CAN 2.0
    • I2S (digital audio)
    • Matrix keypad (2×3)
    • 8x GPIO
    • MIPI-CSI (camera)
    • 8-bit BT.656 Parallel (camera)
    • 2x LVDS (up to 1920 x 1200)
    • HDMI 1.4
  • Power — 3-6.5V DC input; Li-Ion battery input
  • Supported off-board peripherals — 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, battery charger, battery gas gauge, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, barometer, haptic motor
  • Security — ARM TrustZone; Cryptographic Acceleration and Assurance Module (CAAM); true random number generator
  • Other features — watchdog; battery-backed RTC
  • Dimensions — 63.5 x 63.5 x 6mm (2.5 x 2.5 inches)
  • Operating system — Android 4.2; consult factory for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 or Windows Embedded Handheld 8

 

Expansion board and development platform

An optional Muse-F6 expansion board is available, which is said to “bring out all of the peripherals the [module] has to offer.” Although no other details were supplied, the expansion board most likely includes driver and receiver chips plus real-world connectors for access to all of the Fury-F6′s I/O interfaces that are listed in the specifications above.

InHand also supports the Fury-F6 with a Fury development platform (pictured at the top of this post), which is a variant of the similar systems used with the company’s other Fury and Siren boards. In addition to the Muse-F6 expansion board, the Fury development platform includes a 4.1-inch WVGA touchscreen, a battery and power supply, and a wireless module with WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

A board-support package (BSP) for Android is also available, along with documentation and 90 days of engineering support, and InHand offers custom engineering and design services to OEMs.

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Fury-F6. More information may be found on the Fury-F6 product page, and more on the Fury-F6′s expansion board and development platform options may be found here.
 

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