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Technology Solution Provider – Embedded Platforms

Arrow as a Technology Solution Provider is able to support all customer demands by given them a platform to choose, so depend on the customer specification and application we can fit the right solution they will need.

One example is based on the popular I.MX8 Family from NXP. i.MX 8 Family of Applications Processors , Built with advanced media processing, secure domain partitioning and innovative vision processing, the i.MX 8 applications processor family is now revolutionize multiple display automotive applications, industrial systems, vision, HMI and single-board computers.

Many customer want to develop their solution based on this family but this is not a simple solution that every customer can start and go to production fast due to the technical competence needed to develop with Multi-Core , Linux Based and DDR3L or DDR4 complexity and high end technology .

To support the variety of customers Arrow have develop a Platform. The Platform is based on a community board announced this year called Thor96. The Thor96 Board is a single-board computer powered by the NXP i.MX 8M SoC, incorporating a quad-core 64-bit Arm-A53, dedicated GPU and VPU, 4K support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a wide range of I/O. 96Boards is a 32-bit and 64-bit ARM® Open Platform hosted by Linaro™ with the intension to serve the software/ maker and embedded OEM communities. Some customers will be able to develop their own board as copy @ paste this community board schematic and follow up wp with this design by using Arrow FAE’s for technical support or to custom their own design by using Arrow – eInfochips engineering services. This is option one in the Platform. More information can be found @ www.96boards.org and in arrow.com .

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Figure 1: The Thor96 Boards from Arrow Electronics

The second option is for customers that don’t have the time to develop their own board but still want to use the I.MX8 solution so for that Arrow will support customers with SoMs – System On Module. The System on Module (or some called them CoMs – Computer On Modules) is designed to plug into a carrier, or base board, and is generally a small processor module with a CPU and standard I/O capability. The complex effort associated with designing a CPU subsystem is avoided by using SoM – System On Module functionality and a custom base board.

Arrow have many SoM suppliers in the line-card to support any kind of form factor and solutions that the customers will need to design their products, i.e companies like Variscite & iWave that are part of Arrow’s Embedded World 2020 Supplier showcasing .

This two example can show the different between the form factors where Varisicte System On Module have a propriety Form Factor while I-Wave supports the SMARC Community form factor.

Using a propriety form factor is very popular because the customer will found the best fit for their applications depend in sized , connectors , layout and many other features while some customers want to use a standard form factor and popular in the ARM based SoM is the SMARC form factor .

The SMARC (“Smart Mobility ARChitecture”) is a versatile small form factor computer Module definition targeting applications that require low power, low costs, and high performance. The Modules will typically use ARM SOCs similar or the same as those used in many familiar devices such as tablet computers and smart phones. Alternative low power SOCs and CPUs, such as tablet oriented X86 devices and other RISC CPUs may be used as well. The Module power envelope is typically under 6W.

Two Module sizes are defined: 82mm x 50mm and 82mm x 80mm. The Module PCBs have 314 edge fingers that mate with a low profile 314 pin 0.5mm pitch right angle connector (the connector is sometimes identified as a 321 pin connector, but 7 pins are lost to the key).

The Modules are used as building blocks for portable and stationary embedded systems. The core CPU and support circuits, including DRAM, boot flash, power sequencing, CPU power supplies, GBE and a single channel LVDS display transmitter are concentrated on the Module. The Modules are used with application specific Carrier Boards that implement other features such as audio CODECs, touch controllers, wireless devices, etc. The modular approach allows scalability, fast time to market and upgradability while still maintaining low costs, low power and small physical size.

The new global standard under the brand name ‘SMARC’ is based on ULP-COM, the term which up to now was used for Ultra Low Power Computer-on-Modules.

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Picture 2 – Variscite I.MX8 Mini System On Module


Variscite has developed, produced and manufactured a powerful range of System on Modules, consistently setting market benchmarks in terms of speed and innovation. All Variscite production is performed at fully ISO 13485, 9001 and 14001 compliant facilities, satisfying an international customer and regulatory requirements for a broad range of industries including medical devices and related services. The company’s production facilities are equipped with the most advanced SMT machines that ensure punctual deliveries and high-quality products.

It’s no surprise that in less than a decade Variscite has taken a leading position in the design and manufacture of System on Modules. Variscite serves more than 1500 customers in over 50 countries worldwide, delivering a cost-sensitive high-performance portfolio that combines interface flexibility with advanced power management.

Varisicte have 6 SoM Families that can be customized on demand based on the I.MX8 Family . With DART-MX8-MINI and VAR-SOM-MX8M-MINI based on the I.MX8 Mini Family that have 1.5GHz Dual/Quad Cortex™-A53 and 266MHz ARM Cortex™-M4 to DART-MX8M and VAR-SOM-MX8 based on I.MX8 with 2 x 1.8GHz Cortex™-A72 + 4 x 1.2GHz Cortex™-A53 & 2x ARM Cortex™-M4F up to the latest I.MX8X Family SoM called VAR-SOM-MX8X with 4 x 1.2GHz Cortex™-A35 and 264MHz ARM Cortex™-M4F and the last SPEAR-MX8 based on the I.MX8 QuadMax / Quad Plus with 2 x 1.8GHz Cortex™-A72 + 4 x 1.2GHz Cortex™-A53 and 2 x 266 MHz Cortex™-M4F . 


iWave Systems Technologies, an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, established in the year 1999, focuses on standard and customized System on Module/SBC product development in Industrial, Medical, Automotive & Embedded Computing application domains. iWave Systems also provides comprehensive Engineering design services involving Embedded Hardware, FPGA and Software development.

The i.MX8M Quad, Quad Lite, Dual based SMARC System On Module integrates Quad/Dual Cortex A53 @ up to1.5GHz, H.265 4K60 decode, GC7000 Lite GPU, MIPI CSI/DSI, HDMI2.0 TX, USB3.0, PCIe2.0 with on SOM 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet PHY and IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 5.0 module. The i.MX8M SMARC System On Module is aimed to offer applications such as Digital Media Adaptors, HD Digital signage, Industrial HMI, Building Automation, Imaging & Scanning, Audio/Video Streaming devices, and Machine Vision.

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Picture 3 – IWave SMARC Based I.MX8 System On Module

The third and the last option in the Platform is a complete working solution as many customers that need a ready-to-use solution to have a POC – Proof of Concept don’t have the time and the money to develop this complex solution.

Arrow also have in the line-card suppliers that have a ready-made solution based on the latest technologies and also based on NXP I.MX8 , i.e Company like Solid-Run . SolidRun is a global leading developer of embedded systems and network solutions, focused on a wide range of energy-efficient, powerful and flexible products. Thier innovative compact embedded solutions are based on ARM and x86 architecture, and offer a variety of platforms including SOMs (System-on-Module), SBCs (Single Board Computer) and industrial mini PCs.

SolidRun offer a one-stop-shop for developers and OEMs, providing a complete service from hardware customization, to software support and even product branding and enclosure design and one of this solution called the Cubox Plus and it is The smallest computer in the world .

The CuBox Pulse is silent and tiny – at only 2″ x 2″ x 2″ based on NXP i.MX8M Dual / Quad core Arm Cortex A53 up to 1.5Ghz (with Arm M4 GPP). CuBox Pulse is the perfect home entertainment device with the highest standard of visual resolution support, including 4K UltraHD @60Hz and full HDR.

The CuBox Pulse, it’s so easy to turn any screen into a smart TV or online streamer. This tiny multimedia powerhouse is also the perfect device for digital signage and a wide variety of audio and visually rich Internet of Things solutions.

Giving our customers all the options they can choose from that will fit their application is one part of been a Technology Solution Provider and not only to support with components and this is the biggest change Arrow Electronics did in the last years to transform and to support our customers in the best way .

In 2020 Arrow will continue this transformation and to drive more for services because we believe that many customers will want Arrow to help on the development , Cloud connections , Adding Security and more features that must be fast time-to-market for our customers .

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Picture 4 – SolidRun CuBoX Pulse , I.MX8M Ready-Made Solution

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