Freescale Semiconductor Takes High-End Automotive Infotainment Mainstream
Freescale Semiconductor is taking premium automotive infotainment capabilities beyond the domain of luxury cars. With the introduction of Freescale’s i.MX35 family of multimedia processors, automotive OEMs may offer navigation capabilities and hands-free control of in-car audio as affordable options across their complete line of vehicles.
The AEC-Q100 qualified i.MX35 family of multimedia applications processors serves as the central intelligence unit for the entire automotive infotainment system. The processors are engineered to allow drivers safer and easier control of entertainment and navigation devices while behind the wheel. Consumers can choose a song from their portable media player music collection, retrieve a text message from their cell phone or get directions anywhere – all with simple voice commands.
“By leveraging our longstanding relationships with the world’s top automakers, device manufacturers and software providers, Freescale has developed a processor family designed to take hands-free infotainment control functionality – traditionally reserved for luxury automobiles – into every vehicle,” said Paul Marino, general manager of Freescale’s Multimedia Applications Division. “Delivering high performance and comprehensive functionality at previously unthinkable price points, the i.MX35 family of processors enables a compelling end-user experience.”
The i.MX35 automotive series builds on the proven performance of Freescale’s automotive-grade i.MX31 processor, which powers Ford’s SYNC(TM) in-vehicle communications and entertainment system. Compared to competing solutions, the i.MX35 multimedia processors have high levels of performance, system integration and sophisticated graphical user interfaces.
Designed specifically for automotive environments, i.MX35 processors are based on the ARM1136JF-S(TM) core. An available OpenVG graphics engine enables rich, smooth visuals necessary for today’s automotive infotainment systems while providing exceptional zooming and animation of graphics and text. The i.MX35 family is leading the way with hardware-based OpenVG support, delivering portable media device-like experiences in-dash.
“With the launch of the i.MX35, Freescale is well positioned to compete in the fast-growing automotive infotainment applications processor market,” said Richard Robinson, principal automotive electronics analyst for market research firm iSuppli Corp., El Segundo, Calif. “The infotainment application processor market is expected to more than double over the next six years to reach $1.2 billion in 2014, up from $580 million in 2007, according to iSuppli’s latest market forecast.”
The i.MX35 family of automotive multimedia processors includes three pin-compatible devices, each targeting specific infotainment capabilities. The i.MX351 is intended for audio connectivity platforms; the i.MX355 is designed for cost-effective display-based systems; and the i.MX356 integrates an OpenVG 1.1-compliant graphics processing unit for applications such as navigation services, which often require higher levels of graphics content. The i.MX356′s integrated OpenVG technology also enables applications such as personal navigation devices (PNDs) that require high performance graphics and connectivity.
The i.MX35 automotive multimedia applications processors are packed with connectivity options including two CAN modules, a Media Local Bus to connect to MOST(C) “INIC” transceivers, Ethernet, two MMC/SD/SDIO ports and a CE-ATA/SDIO port for external wireless modules. They have two integrated USB PHYs and a 3.3V general purpose I/O interface. They also support lower cost memories like DDR2 and multi-level cell NAND that reduce system costs and provide the design engineer great flexibility.
Software and enablement
Freescale’s i.MX35 family supports the Microsoft Auto platform – the software that powers Ford SYNC, which connects drivers with a wide range of devices, services and technologies while on the go. Freescale also has a long history of collaboration with QNX Software Systems, whose Aviage(R) family of middleware products runs on the i.MX35 processors.
An i.MX35 product development kit (PDK) is available to help simplify product development so developers can focus on critical differentiation needed for market success. Freescale also offers comprehensive board support packages for both the Microsoft Windows(R) Embedded CE and Linux(R) operating systems with the PDK, as well as optimized middleware such as audio and video codecs and digital rights management libraries. The QNX Neutrino(TM) operating system and Aviage multimedia suite are also supported.
Availability and pricing
Freescale is currently sampling i.MX35 processors to tier one customers and plans to expand to a broader base of customers in 1Q 2009. Volume production is expected in 3Q 2009.
Suggested resale price for automobile model year 2010 in 100K quantities ranges from $10 to $13 (USD) depending on version. Learn more about Freescale’s i.MX applications processors at: www.freescale.com/imx.
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion (USD). www.freescale.com.
Supporting comments from Freescale partners follow
ARM: “The provision of high-performance, multi-functional automotive infotainment, which Freescale’s i.MX35 processors are designed to drive, is no longer the preserve of luxury vehicles,” said Eric Schorn, vice president of Marketing, for ARM’s Processor Division. “The versatile ARM1136JF-S processor, on which the i.MX35 processor is based, is ideally suited to deliver the energy-efficient performance required to provide the on-the-road, voice controlled entertainment and navigation experience being demanded by today’s automotive OEMs and their consumers.”
Microsoft: “Freescale continues to offer a high degree of integration, top-of-the-line processing capabilities and a breadth of connectivity options,” said Velle Kolde, senior product manager of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit. “The i.MX35 processors bring out the rich functionality of the Microsoft Auto platform, enabling us to deliver fresh and innovative infotainment experiences that consumers desire.”
QNX: “The Freescale i.MX35, with its rich set of graphics and multimedia peripherals, is an ideal platform for the QNX Aviage middleware family,” said Romain Saha, automotive alliance manager at QNX Software Systems. “Aviage provides an acoustic processing suite for high-quality, low-cost hands-free systems and a multimedia suite that provides seamless integration with MP3 players, cell phones, USB drives and other consumer electronics.”
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