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Ambiq reveals Apollo4 Lite SoCs for low-power portable devices

Jul 12, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 329 views

This week, Ambiq launched two powerful and energy-efficient System-on-Chips designed for a wide range of consumer wearable applications including healthcare products. Both variants are equipped with a 2D/2.5D graphics accelerator and one of them support Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity.

According to Ambiq, the Apollo4 Blue Lite SoC is built on their own proprietary Subthreshold Power-Optimized Technology (SPOT) platform which optimized low power consumption.

— ADVERTISEMENT —


  • Apollo4 Blue Lite SoC — 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4F (up to 192MHz) w/ FPU, MPU and BLE 5.1; Secure boot support and PSA-L1 certified

 
Apollo4 Blue Lite SoC block diagram and eval board
(click images to enlarge)

The product brief indicates that the Apollo4 Blue Lite is equipped with 2MB of MRAM and 1.4MB of SRAM for code and data. If additional memory is required, external memory can be easily supported through Ambiq’s high bandwidth multi-bit SPI and eMMC interfaces.

Specifications listed for the Apollo4 Blue Lite SoC include:

  • Display/Graphics:
    • Up to 390 x 390 x 24-bit resolution at 30 FPS (w/ NemaGUI over MSPI interface)
    • 2D/2.5D graphics accelerator
    • Texture mapping
    • Anti-aliasing, dithering , vector graphics processing
  • Audio:
    • 1x PDM Interface
    • 1x full duplex 12S port
  • Clock Sources:
    • 32 MHz & 32.768 kHz crystal oscillators
    • 900 Hz low-frequency RC oscillator
    • 2x high-frequency RC oscillators – 192/384 MHz
  • Bluetooth:
    • Data rate: 1 Mbps & 2 Mbps
    • Tx output power: -10dBm to +6dBM
    • Rx sensitivity: -95.5dBm @1Mbps; -92 dBm @2Mbps
  • I/O Interface:
    • 2x QSPI/OSPI; 1x QSPI/OSPI/HexSPI
    • 7x I2C/SPI masters for peripheral communication
    • I2C/SPI slave for host communications
    • 4x UART modules w/ flow control 
    • SDIO (SD3.0) / eMMC (v4.51)
    • 8-bit, 10-bit and 12-bit ADC modes, 11 selectable channels
    • Temperature sensor w/ ±3°C accuracy
  • Power:
    • Operating voltage – 1.71 -2.2 V
    • SIMO buck/BLE buck
    • 4.6 μA/MHz executing from MRAM (w/ cache)
    • Low power & deep sleep mode selectable levels of RAM/cache retention
  • Operating Temperature:
    • -20°C to 60°C
  • Mechanical: 
    •  4.7 x 4.7mm
    • 131-pin BGA

 
Apollo4 Lite SoC block diagram and eval board
(click images to enlarge)

Similarly as the Blue variant, the Apollo4 Lite System-on-Chip is also based on the proprietary (SPOT) platform and offers very similar features.

  • Apollo4 Lite SoC 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4F (up to 192MHz) w/ FPU, MPU; Secure boot support and PSA-L1 certified 

The Apollo4 Blue Lite also offers 2MB of MRAM and 1.4MB of low-power SRAM. However, the main difference is that this specific SoC doesn’t support Bluetooth as the Apollo4 Blue Lite variant.

Specifications listed for the Apollo4 Lite SoC include:

  • Memory:
    • Up to 2 MB of non-volatile memory (NVM) for code/data
    • Up to 1.4 MB of low power RAM for code/data Ultra-low-power interface for off-chip sensors
  • Display/Graphics:
    • Up to 390 x 390 x 24-bit resolution at 30 FPS (w/ NemaGUI over MSPI interface)
    • 2D/2.5D graphics accelerator
    • Texture mapping
    • Anti-aliasing, dithering, vector graphics processing
  • Audio:
    • 1x PDM Interface
    • 1x full duplex 12S port
  • Clock Sources:
    • 32 MHz & 32.768 kHz crystal oscillators
    • 900 Hz low-frequency RC oscillator
    • 2x high-frequency RC oscillators – 192/384 MHz
  • I/O Interface:
    • 2x QSPI/OSPI; 1x QSPI/OSPI/HexSPI
    • 8x I2C/SPI masters for peripheral communication
    • I2C/SPI slave for host communications
    • 4x UART modules with flow control
    •  SDIO (SD3.0) / eMMC (v4.51)
    • 8-bit, 10-bit and 12-bit ADC modes, 11 selectable channels
    • Temperature sensor w/ ±3°C accuracy
  • Power:
    • Operating voltage – 1.71 -2.2 V
    • SIMO buck
    • 4.6 μA/MHz executing “while” from NVM w/ cache at 3.3V
    • Low-power sleep and deep sleep modes w/ selectable levels of RAM/cache retention
  • Operating Temperature:
    • -20°C to 60°C
  • Mechanical: 
    •  5 x 5mm
    • 146-pin BGA w/ 84x GPIOs

Further information

Both evaluation boards appear to be available at the same price of $162.64. The Apollo4 Lite SoC (single unit) starts at $5.53 while the Apollo4 Blue Lite SoC costs $6.15 (single unit). Refer to the product announcement for more information.

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