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Android 5.0 dev kits simplify octacore Snapdragon designs

Nov 22, 2014 — by Eric Brown 4,872 views

[Updated 11:40pm] — Intrinsyc unveiled an Android 5.0 dev platform for the Snapdragon 810 SoC in phone, tablet, SBC, and COM versions that debut DDR4 and TransferJet tech.

Intrinsyc Technologies has released three Android 5.0 development platforms, as well as a computer-on-module, supporting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 system-on-chip:

  • Open-Q 8094 System on Module (SOM) — Snapdragon 810 with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 16GB eMMC 5.0, on a tiny SODIMM-style card
  • DragonBoard for Snapdragon 810 — carrier board, equipped with the Open-Q 8094 SOM and adding wireless and I/O features, as well as the first commercial implementation of close proximity TransferJet technology (described farther below)
  • Smartphone Mobile Development Platform (“MDP Smartphone”) for Snapdragon 810 — 6.2-inch Quad HD display with 490 pixels per inch (ppi), 4GB DDR4, 32GB storage, etc.
  • Tablet Mobile Development Platform (“MDP Tablet”) for Snapdragon 810 — 10.1-inch Ultra HD 4K (3840 × 2160) screen with 4GB DDR4, 64GB storage, etc.

Left to right: Open-Q 8094 SOM, DragonBoard, MDP Smartphone, MDP Tablet

Each of these products is described in detail below.

Snapdragon 810

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 was announced in April, and is sampling now. It will ship in consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets in early 2015.


The Snapdragon 810 combines four ARM Cortex-A57 cores with four Cortex-A53 cores in a Big.Little combination similar to Cortex-A15/A7 hybrids like the Exynos 5 Octa. The SoC also adds a powerhouse Adreno 430 GPU, and debuts DDR4 RAM technology (see farther below for background).

Open-Q 8094 SOM

The “production ready” Open-Q 8094 SOM is part of the new DragonBoard kit, but can be purchased separately. Despite the Q in its name, it does not use the Qseven form-factor, which Intrinsyc adopted for its Snapdragon 800-based Open-Q 8074 SOM. Instead, the 82 x 40mm COM uses a somewhat similar form-factor to the Snapdragon 805-based Open-Q 8084 SOM. The 8084 adopted the 82mm width and 314-pin MXM 3.0 edge connector of the SMARC and EDM COM standards, but with a shorter, 35mm height.

Open-Q 8094 SOM
(click image to enlarge)

The Open-Q 8094 SOM clocks the Snapdragon 810’s four Cortex-A57 cores at 2.0GHz and the four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.5GHz. It ships with 4GB PoP PDDR4 RAM and up to 64GB eMMC 5.0 flash memory.

Open-Q 8094 SOM block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Open-Q 8094 SOM is further equipped with a QAC6167-based wireless module with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth LE (BLE) 4.1. The GPS chip resides on a separate WGR7640 component. PM8994 and PMI8994 power management ICs are also available. More details can be seen in the block diagram above.

DragonBoard for Snapdragon 810

Intrinsyc’s latest DragonBoard includes the Open-Q 8094 SOM, and offers the same complement of RAM and flash. The carrier board is aimed at Snapdragon 810-based development of Android robots, wearables, digital signage, kiosks, medical devices, and “other intelligent connected devices,” says the company. Many of these types of applications would likely use the SOM as a macrocomponent, plugged into a custom application baseboard.

DragonBoard, with the Open-Q 8094 SOM installed on lower right
(click image to enlarge)

The DragonBoard fully implements the module’s WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS features. It’s also the first product to implement the new TransferJet high-speed, close proximity data transfer technology (see farther below).

Coastline ports include five USB ports, an HDMI port, and a microSD slot. The board is further equipped with MIPI CSI and DSI connectors, as well as a pair of SATA ports. A PCIe slot is said to support gigabit Ethernet cards. There are also four expansion headers, some of which support test and debug.

Simplified specifications for the new DragonBoard include:

  • Processor (via Open-Q 8094 SOM) — Snapdragon 810
  • Memory (via Open-Q 8094 SOM) — 4GB LPDDR4 RAM; 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash
  • Storage expansion – MicroSD slot
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11n/ac
    • Bluetooth 3.0/4.1
    • TransferJet
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • Micro-USB 2.0
    • HDMI output
    • MIPI dual 4-lane DSI + touch panel
    • 3x MIPI CSI with support for 3D camera configuration
    • 2x SATA
    • PCI Express slot
    • 4x expansion headers for additional features, test, and debug
  • Operating system — Android 5.0

MDP Smartphone for Snapdragon 810

The smartphone form-factor Mobile Development Platform is a 6.2-inch phablet with a 10-point multi-touch Quad HD display. The display features 2560 × 1600-pixel, 490ppi resolution. The phone ships with 4GB LP-DDR4 RAM and 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash.

MDP Smartphone
(click image to enlarge)

The MDP Smartphone has the same WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.1 components as the DragonBoard, and offers the IZat Gen8C GPS module and NFC. The phone is equipped with 13- and 4-megapixel cameras. In addition to the usual sensors, it provides temperature, humidity, UV, and mobeam sensors. A fingerprint reader is found on the back.

The MDP Smartphone offers Micro-USB 3.0 OTG and Micro-HDMI ports, as well as a microSD slot. The phone features eight microphones, six of them digital, and offers speakers, a headphone jack, and a ultrasound emitter for gesture applications. A 3020mAh battery is also available.

Tablet MDP for Snapdragon 810

The MDP Tablet features a 10.1-inch Ultra HD 4K (3840 × 2160) screen with 10-point multi-touch. The tablet ships with 4GB LP-DDR4 RAM and 64GB eMMC 5.0 flash.

MDP Tablet
(click image to enlarge)

Wireless features and cameras are the same as with the MDP Smartphone, and the tablet adds dual 3D IR gesture cameras. It features a more standard array of sensors than does the phone.

I/O ports and audio features are also the same as with the MDP Smartphone. The tablet is equipped with a 7560mAh battery and supports Qualcomm WiPower charging.

Android 5.0 and more

All of the above products ship with Android 5.0 (“Lollpop”), and ship with several pre-installed development packages. The Snapdragon Performance Visualizer offers performance monitoring, profiling, and debugging.

Trepn Profiler, showing overlay mode
(click image to enlarge)

There’s also a Premier version of Trepn Profiler that displays the power consumption of individual hardware rails. The products ship with documentation, software updates, and additional technical support or product development assistance, says Intrinsyc.

TransferJet on the DragonBoard

According to emails from spokespersons at Intrinsyc and Toshiba, the DragonBoard is the first publicly available product to support the TransferJet wireless data transfer technology, which it does using Toshiba components. There is no official mention of this feature, but we have added it to the spec table farther above.

TransferJet conceptual diagram
(click image to enlarge; source: Toshiba)

TransferJet is a high-speed, close proximity wireless technology working at a range of 3 centimeters. It is sort of like a supercharged NFC radio, offering much higher bandwidth, but without NFC’s optimization for payment and authentication. The technology can operate side by side with NFC or the similar FeliCa technologies.

Toshiba TransferJet
USB adapter

TransferJet has a physical layer transmission rate of 560Mbps, and throughput of 375Mbps. The technology is much faster than WiFi and is claimed to use half the power. TransferJet is touted for its easy, one-touch pairing process and proximity limits, which help maintain security, says Toshiba.

Toshiba launched TransferJet microUSB Adapters earlier this year, and will begin selling them in the U.S. this quarter. The DragonBoard integrates Toshiba’s TransferJet controller chip directly onboard.

The TransferJet Consortium was formed by 45 companies in 2012, with Toshiba and Sony being the primary backers. It was ratified by ISO as ISO/IEC 17568 and 17569.

Snapdragon 810 background

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 is the first mobile-oriented SoC with 20nm fabrication and Cortex-A57 cores, four of which share space with four Cortex-A53 cores. It’s also the first with Qualcomm’s powerful new Adreno 430 GPU.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 highlights
(click image to enlarge)

The Adreno 430 delivers up to 30 percent faster graphics performance and 100 percent faster GPGPU compute performance than the Adreno 420, with up to 20 percent less power consumption, claims Qualcomm.

The Snapdragon 810 integrates Qualcomm’s latest Hexagon v56 DSP, as well as dual 14-bit ISPs supporting supporting 1.2-gigapixel per second throughput and 55-megapixel still images. The SoC supports hardware-based Ultra HD 4K H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC) video capture and playback.

The 810 further integrates Qualcomm’s 4th Generation Cat 6 LTE Advanced multimode modem, as well as the Qualcomm VIVE dual-stream 802.11ac WiFi radio, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, and Qualcomm’s IZat location engine, supporting GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and Galileo.

The 810 was one of the first processors to announce support for the DDR4 RAM standard, which is said to be faster and more power-efficient, while providing greater compatibility with 3D graphics. Other chips supporting DDR4 include two server-oriented, 64-bit, ARMv8 SoCs: Altera’s Stratix 10 SX and Freescale’s QorIQ LS1.

Further information

The DragonBoard for Snapdragon 810 (“early adopter” edition) is available for $499, and the MDP Smartphone and MDP Tablet for Snapdragon 810 are available for $799 and $999, respectively. No pricing information was provided for the unbundled Open-Q 8094 SOM.

Products can be purchased at Intrinsyc’s shopping page. More information on the products is available at the DragonBoard, MDP Smartphone, and MDP Tablet product pages.

(advertise here)

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One response to “Android 5.0 dev kits simplify octacore Snapdragon designs”

  1. Harryjo says:

    whaddaheck! they’re not available to makers and developers! shame on you intrinsic and qualcomm!!!! =(

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