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Tiny module and dev kit can run with Mini or Nano

Apr 14, 2021 — by Eric Brown 921 views

Beacon EmbeddedWorks’ tiny “i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM” runs Linux or Android on the Mini or Nano with up to 8GB LPDDR4, eMMC, WiFi/BT, and an optional “Zoom” dev kit.

Eden Prairie, Minn. Based Beacon EmbeddedWorks, which was formerly Logic PD and is now a subsidiary of electronics manufacturing services firm Compass Electronics Solutions, has announced a compute module that supports either the NXP i.MX8M Mini or similar, but slightly stripped down i.MX8M Nano. The i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM offers up to 8GB LPDDR4 with the Mini and 4GB with the Nano.

i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Aside from F&S’ OSM form-factor OSM-MX8MM and Kontron’s SoM SL i.MX8M Mini, which each measure 30 x 30mm and use the Mini, the 38 x 28mm module appears to be the smallest Mini or Nano module yet. Like the Beacon module, TQ’s 38 x 38mm TQMa8MxML supports both the Mini and Nano. Among other contenders, Keith & Koep has a pair of similar, 48 x 32mm Myon II modules available with either the Mini or Nano.

Like the i.MX8M Mini, the i.MX8M Nano has up to 4x 14nm-fabricated Cortex-A53 cores, but they top out at 1.5GHz instead of 1.8GHz. It also similarly features a Vivante GC7000UL 3D/2D GPU with support for OpenGL, OpenCL and Vulkan. The Nano lacks the Mini’s video processing unit (VPU), but instead of the Mini’s 400MHz Cortex-M4 MCU, there is a more powerful Cortex-M7.


In addition to the up to 8GB or 4GB of RAM, the modules support an undisclosed range of eMMC and QSPI NOR flash. The module provides a secure element, as well as 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 BLE.

i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

I/O is the same on the Mini and Nano versions except that the Nano model lacks the PCIe Gen2 x1 interface available with the Mini and supports only one USB 2.0 OTG interface instead of two. In addition, the Nano offers 2x SAI audio interfaces instead of 3x.

The i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM is further equipped with a GbE controller and up to 4-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI. In addition to the SAI, you get S/PDIF and an 8-channel PDM audio input.

Other I/O includes up to 3x UART, up to 3x I2C, up to 2x SPI, and up to 87x multiplexed GPIOs. The 7.7g module provides JTAG and an RTC.

Zoom i.MX 8M Mini Development Kit with (left) and without the module
(click images to enlarge)

There were no details on the Zoom i.MX 8M Mini Development Kit, which appears to offer a lot of features, but with relatively few standard coastline ports. The kit includes an LCD touchscreen, HDMI port, audio I/O jacks, and “ethernet connectors, USB ports, PC card expansions, and all necessary cables,” says Beacon Customization services are also available.

The kit ships with BSPs for Linux, Android, Windows Embedded CE, and RTOSes. You also get Beacon’s Wattson power measurement application and LogicLoader bootloader.

Beacon EmbeddedWorks also offers Linux-ready compute modules based on i.MX6, Renesas RZ/G2, Xilinx Zynq-7020, and variety of TI Sitara SoCs. Zoom kits are available for some of the more recent models.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the i.MX 8M Mini/Nano SOM and Zoom i.MX 8M Mini Development Kit. More information may be found in Beacon EmbeddedWorks’ announcement and itsSOM and Zoom dev kit product pages.

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