congatec’s new SMARC entry-level product can realize interactive touch at low cost

Germany’s congatec, a leading supplier of standardized and customized embedded computer carrier boards and modules, has launched its new SMARC 2.0 computer-on-module, powered by the NXP i.MX 8M Nano processor based on the ARM Cortex-A53 architecture. This conga-SMX8-Nano processor defines a new entry level of performance for the SMARC standard. With ultra-low-power graphics processing power and a limited number of strictly screened I/Os, this new NXP i.MX 8M Nano processor compatible with the NXP i.MX 8M Mini targets previously untouched low-cost applications . Mobile handheld devices using it consume no more than 2 watts of power. Engineers can also transform a complex medical interface littered with mechanical buttons into an easy and intuitive touch interface, or install an interactive screen on industrial equipment (which was previously expensive). All of this, even headless systems like Touch Industrial IoT with IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol, is now possible with ultra-low power and budget.


Engineers benefit from highly advanced and out-of-the-box components, standardized APIs and comprehensive BSPs through the extensive SMARC computer-on-module ecosystem. Another major advantage is the great scalability – which goes far beyond the pin compatibility of the NXP i.MX 8M Nano and Mini models. Common areas of application include graphical interfaces for edge computing devices, with the addition of voice assistance and voice-operated capabilities if necessary. Its vertical markets include wireless and medical/industrial networking equipment, home appliances and Electronic equipment, digital signature systems, mobile/outdoor equipment, smart city infrastructure (such as small digital bus schedules or headless platforms for edge gateways), electronic recharge and shared transportation equipment.

Martin Danzer, Director of Product Management at congatec, said: “Immediate availability and scalability are two decisive factors for engineers who want to switch to ARM-based Computer-on-Modules. They want to get to market quickly, save non-recurring costs, and Optimally balance the price/performance of the low-cost high-volume product line. With SMARC, we put these benefits in front of their eyes. They can expand the out-of-the-box platform within the entire i.MX 8 series, or they can go beyond that and adopt Processors for a variety of low-power applications. This hardware exploration possibility, and its inherent long-term availability, has led ARM application processor engineers to rely more and more on this standardized computer-on-module to validate design principles .”

The new NXP i.MX 8M Nano processor-based SMARC module is a ready-to-use subsystem with a fully integrated ecosystem including pre-installed bootloaders, pre-verified Linux, Yocto and Android BSPs, and Full-featured evaluation carrier board. congatec’s personal integration support service and a range of individually selectable technical services greatly simplify the steps required for customers to integrate this ARM-based NXP processor.

SMARC 2.0 module features

The new conga-SMX8-Nano SMARC computer-on-module based on the NXP i-MX 8M Nano processor targets low-power and cost-effective graphical interface applications, as well as industrial headless control systems, including touch IEEE in Industrial IoT 1588 Precision Time Protocol. The product is available in three models with quad-core, dual-core, and single-core ARM Cortex-A53 processors. Each model is complemented by a Cortex-M7 processor and supports extended (0°C to 60°C) and industrial (-40°C to 85°C) temperature ranges. Some processors, integrated GC7000UltraLite 3D GPU, can support 2X shader and OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan. Embedded displays can be connected via dual-channel LVDS, eDP or MIPI-DSI. Up to 4GB of low-power LPDDR4 and up to 128GB of eMMC 5.1 non-volatile memory ensure the module’s large storage space.

Embedded cameras can be connected via MIPI-CSI-2 interface, while advanced 4x USB 2.0 and 3x UART interfaces are used for industrial purposes. For inter-system connectivity, the module comes with a Gigabit Ethernet card and optional M2 WiFi/Bluetooth expansion kit.

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