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Storyboard cranks up GUIs for iWave’s i.MX8 boards

Mar 4, 2020 — by Eric Brown 698 views

iWave’s i.MX8 based modules and SBCs are now available with Crank’s StoryBoard GUI software, including its “i.MX8QuadMax SMARC” dev kit based on its iW-RainboW-G27D module.

iWave announced that all its Linux-friendly, NXP i.MX8 family boards now ship with Crank Software’s StoryBoard GUI software, a competitor with Qt. Storyboard is available with ST’s STM32MP1 development kits and Toradex’s i.MX8 Quad-based Apalis iMX8, among other partnerships.


iWave products that ship with Storyboard include the i.MX8 Quad powered iW-RainboW-G27M SMARC module as well as an i.MX8QuadMax SMARC Development Platform (iW-RainboW-G27D) built around it that was not available during our initial report (see farther below). Other supported products include the iW-Rainbow-G27S Pico-ITX SBC, which similarly supports the i.MX8 QuadPlus or hexa-core QuadMax.


Crank’s Storyboard is also available on an i.MX8M based iW-RainboW-G33M SMARC module that has escaped out notice, but which we detail farther below. We did cover the fourth supported product: the SODIMM-style iW-RainboW-G34M-SM, built around the i.MX8M Mini or Nano.

Crank’s Storyboard is touted by iWave for its cross-platform support. It can run on top of Linux or Android on the i.MX8 Cortex-A53 cores, as well as the Cortex-A72 cores added to the QuadPlus and QuadMax. In addition, it supports FreeRTOS and QNX running on the i.MX8’s Cortex-M4 cores — or two of them in the case of the i.MX8 Quad — and it’s accessible within the NXP MCUXpresso SDK.

GUIs built with Crank’s Storyboard
(click image to enlarge)

On the i.MX8 Quad based products, Storyboard leverages the dual Vivante GC7000SXVX GPU and 4K H.265 capable VPU “to offer pixel-perfect 3D graphical acceleration on up to 4x HD or one 4K display,” says iWave.

Storyboard provides a “media-rich” user interface development for graphics, audio, and connectivity, and lets users design, debug, and deploy GUIs without the need for programming, says iWave. Crank’s software integrates animation and validation tools and enables import and re-upload of files from Photoshop. Applications include automotive and medical displays or HMIs for IoT automation.

i.MX8QuadMax SMARC Development Platform (iW-RainboW-G27D)

The i.MX8QuadMax SMARC dev kit was not available when we covered the i.MX8 Quad powered iW-RainboW-G27M SMARC module two years ago. The layout of the module that powers the dev kit’s carrier board looks a bit different now, so we’ve included a new photo here.

Updated photo for iW-RainboW-G27M

The 82 x 50mm, -40 to 80°C tolerant iW-RainboW-G27M module now supports up to 8GB LPDDR4 RAM instead of the original 4GB. The 16GB eMMC is said to be expandable. Once again there’s an optional microSD slot and 256MB of optional QSPI flash.

You also get dual GbE controllers and 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth (4.1). The latest OS support is listed as Linux 4.14.98, Android Pie 9.0.0, and QNX 7.0.0.

i.MX8QuadMax SMARC Development Platform and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The 120 x 120mm Nano-ITX form-factor i.MX8QuadMax SMARC Development Platform (iW-RainboW-G27D) extends the module with a SMARC carrier board with 2x GbE, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports. There are single micro-USB 2.0 OTG, micro-USB debug, DisplayPort, and HDMI ports and a pair of audio jacks linked to an SSI/I2S audio codec.

The iW-RainboW-G27D kit is equipped with an SD slot, a SATA connector, dual CAN ports, and a mini-PCIe slot with SIM slot. The detail view also shows an M.2 socket and a PCIe x4 slot.

Dual expansion connectors express single QSPI, UART, I2C, DMI RX, MLB, CAN, SPDIF, ESAI interfaces plus GPIOs and dual-channel LVDS. There are also individual I2C, UART, and GPIO headers

An A&V expansion connector supplies 4-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI connectors, 3x I2C, and more GPIOs. The DSI interface links up to the kit’s 5.5-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. The 12V board has an RTC with battery and supports 0 to 60°C operation.


The iW-RainboW-G33M SMARC 2.0 module appears to have been out for a while. The 82 x 50mm module showcases the media-savvy i.MX8M, which has appeared on SMARC modules such as Advantech’s ROM-5720.

The 1.5GHz, quad -A53 i.MX8M falls in between the Quad and the Mini/Nano SoCs in terms of features. We’re seeing fewer new i.MX8M boards in favor of the more powerful Quad or the more power-efficient Mini and Nano. The 1.8GHz Mini is faster, but like the Nano, lacks the i.MX8M’s 4K capability.

(click images to enlarge)

The iW-RainboW-G33M supports Linux 4.14.98 and Android Pie 9.0.0 and ships with 2GB LPDDR4 and 8GB eMMC, both of which are “expandable.” Options are available for a microSD slot and 256MB QSPI flash. The module has a built-in wireless module with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0.

There’s both a standard GbE controller and a PCIe-based GbE controller for 2x GbE ports. The module is further equipped with USB 3.0 host and OTG interfaces plus a 4-port USB 2.0 hub. There’s also a PCIe expansion interface plus multiple UARTs and support for other I/O including I2C and SPI.

For media, you get MIPI-DSI, dual MIPI-CSI, 4K-ready HDMI/DP, and SSI/I2S audio. An optional expansion connector interface adds another 2-lane CSI interface plus SAI audio and GPIOs. The 5V module is available in both 0 to 70°C and -40 to 85°C models

Further information

iWave’s Crank announcement may be found here. More information on the i.MX8QuadMax SMARC Development Platform (iW-RainboW-G27D) is available here and more on the i.MX8M-based iW-RainboW-G33M module may be found here.


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