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NXP aims new MCUs and QorIQ SoCs at IoT

Mar 16, 2017 — by Eric Brown 1,637 views

NXP announced a Linux-ready, dual ARMv8 QorIQ LS1028A SoC with TSN Ethernet, and unveiled several new MCUs including a tiny, 4x4mm MC9S08SUx.

NXP used this week’s Embedded World show to announce a new QorIQ LS1028A SoC for Time-Sensitive Networking applications, plus a “Modular IoT Framework” of preconfigured, wireless enabled NXP hardware and software for IoT. On the microcontroller side, NXP launched a 4x4mm MC9S08SUx MCU, which it calls the world’s smallest single-chip SoC.


Other MCU announcements include a new line of AEC-Q100 qualified, FreeRTOS supported S32K1 MCUs based on Cortex-M4F and Cortex-M0+ architectures. NXP also launched some 150MHz Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs that provide up to 1MB of SRAM, and are designed for portable display applications.


As we reported earlier, NXP also unveiled three Cortex-A35-based i.MX8 X SoCs.

QorIQ LS1028A: a Linux-driven TSN SoC

NXP announced a new dual ARMv8 QorIQ LS1028A SoC, a specialized member of its ARM-based QorIQ Layerscape LS1 family of processors. The LS1028A provides Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) Ethernet based on IEEE 802.1 standards.

QorIQ LS1028A block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

TSN provides real-time, reliable networking, and enables legacy IT equipment and operations technology (OT) equipment to reside on the same network. The technology provides Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth while simplifying network deployment and management, says NXP.

The LS1028A integrates dual 64-bit ARMv8 cores, says NXP, but it doesn’t say what kind. The integrated GPU and LCD controller support HMI applications, and the device includes crypto and integrated trust architecture.

The SoC integrates a four-port TSN switch and two separate TSN Ethernet controllers. A reference design is available with four switched GbE TSN ports, as well as an open source, industrial Linux SDK with real-time performance.

The NXP TSN reference design is available now, although the LS1028A itself is listed as “preproduction.” Last month, NXP announced a hardware and software based QorIQ Layerscape Secure Platform for securing QorIQ-based systems in IoT networks.

Modular IoT Framework: Preconfigured IoT goodies

The Modular IoT Framework is a set of pre-integrated NXP hardware and software for IoT, letting customers mix and match technologies with greater assurance of interoperability. It’s the sort of comprehensive hat trick you can accomplish only if your portfolio is as huge and diverse as NXP’s. Consider it as one of the benefits of corporate giganticism as opposed to drawbacks such as lack of vendor choice and pricing pressures, overlapping product lines, and in some cases limited market agility.

NXP’s new framework encompasses edge devices, gateways, connectivity, security, and commissioning technologies. All the components are tested and verified for ZigBee and Thread connectivity, as well as cloud communications via WiFi, Ethernet, cellular, and LoRa. Supported cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services (AWS).

NFC provisioning and mobile app integration are also part of the package. The Modular IoT Framework is delivered as an “Integrated Development Experience” defined by targeted IoT use cases, says NXP. The package includes a wireless connected platform, plus all necessary components, documentation, and support.

MC9S08SUx: World’s smallest single-chip SoC

NXP’s MC9S08SUx MCU, which is part of its 8-bit S08SU MCU family, is claimed to be the world’s smallest single-chip SoC. The 4 x 4 x 0.65mm microcontroller integrates an 18V-to-5V LDO and MOSFET pre-driver that delivers ultra-high-voltage power for drones, robots, power tools, DC fans, healthcare devices, and other low-end brushless DC electric motor control (BLDC) gizmos.

MC9S08SUx block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The 3-phase MOSFET pre-driver unit supports 3 high-side PMOSes and 3 low-side NMOSes. It also offers amplifiers for current measurement, as well as OCP (over current protection) and OVP (over voltage protection). The MC9S08SUx is clocked to 40MHz, and offers up to 16KB flash and up to 768 bytes of RAM. The chip also supplies a PMIC, 12-bit ADC, and other interfaces.

Kinetis K27/K28: Portable display chips with 1MB SRAM

The new Cortex-M4 based Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs, which are part of NXP’s Kinetis K Series family, are designed for portable, battery powered display applications. The K27/K28 chips are touted for their 1MB of RAM — up to four times the SRAM offered in “current MCUs.” says NXP. They also feature 2MB of flash.

The power-efficient Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs are available with an FRDM-K28F development board that includes a discrete PMIC, accelerometer, QuadSPI serial flash, a USB high-speed connector, and full-speed USB OpenSDA interface. Optional add-on boards provide USB Type-C and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), as well as a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen from MikroElektronika.

An MCUXpresso SDK provides system startup, peripheral drivers, USB and connectivity stacks, middleware, and real-time operating system (RTOS) kernels. The Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs will be available in April.

S32K1: An automotive workhorse

NXP unveiled a new S32K1 family of Cortex-M based automotive MCUs. The initial S32K1 family will span 128KB to 2MB of flash, and include ISO CAN FD, CSEc hardware security, and ASIL-B support.

S32K block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The S32K1 is part of an S32K family of AEC-Q100 qualified, 32-bit Cortex-M4F and Cortex-M0+ MCUs. S32K MCUs are being used by 10 of the top 15 global car manufacturers in next-generation vehicles, says NXP. S32K chips are also used in high reliability industrial applications.

The MCUs are designed for customers who do not need to use AUTOSAR AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) technology for automotive-grade drivers, but don’t want to develop their own drivers. The platform is billed as an alternative, turn-key option for self-development.

The MCUs ship with a free, pre-qualified FreeRTOS SDK with MISRA and SPICE Level 3 compliant low-level drivers (LLDs) for all peripherals. The SDK also offers middleware for LIN, NFC, and touch sensing, as well as drivers for complementary NXP ICs. S32K144 samples and a $49 development board are now available, with volume chip production scheduled for the second quarter of 2017.

Further information

Pricing and availability information for each new NXP processor and service is included in the blurbs above, when available. More information may be found at the NXP Media Center.

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