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Cortex-A9 Sitara EVM gains Android KitKat BSP

Apr 22, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 935 views

Adeneo has released an Android KitKat 4.4.4 BSP for the TI Sitara AM437x EVM kit in both a free binary version and a commercial version with source code.

Adeneo Embedded’s Android 4.4.4 “KitKat” Reference Board Support Package is designed for use with the Texas Instruments AM437x EVM (TMDXEVM437X EVM). The EVM kit was announced last June with a Linux BSP when TI announced the Cortex-A9-based Sitara AM437x SoC. Adeneo tipped the BSP last December when it also announced a BSP that has since been made available based on the Cortex-A8 based Sitara AM335x. At the time, the company had few details on the AM437x BSP, however.

Adeneo’s AM437x BSP includes Android 4.4.4 with Android Linux Kernel 3.12, says Adeneo, which is a platinum member of the TI Design Network. Other features include Android GCC toolchain 4.7, a bootloader (SPL and U-Boot), and an SGX OpenGL ES Driver and Libraries DDK v1.10, plus applications, demos, and peripheral drivers. The BSP, which has been validated using the CTS testing suite, implements separation between system and boot partitions.

Sitara AM437x block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

There are four pin-compatible Sitara AM437x SoC models, all based on single 800MHz or 1GHz Cortex-A9 cores. The Sitara AM437x is equipped with 64KB RAM, 256KB L2 cache, and 320KB of other on-chip memory. It supports 32-bit DRAM including LPDDR2-533 and DDR3-800, and runs on 5mW standby power

The AM437x, as well as other future AM4x and AM5x SoCs, provide a redesigned, quad-core version of the PRU-ICSS (Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication Subsystem) found on the Sitara AM335x. The new coprocessors offload real-time processing from the ARM core, enabling custom I/O development for simultaneous industrial Ethernet protocols and motor feedback protocols.

The high-end AM44379 adds PowerVR 3D graphics acceleration, as well as PRU support for the EtherCAT slave protocol. The AM4378 shares the PowerVR GPU, but not the EtherCAT, while the AM4377 is the reverse, offering EtherCAT, but no 3D. The AM4376 has neither feature.

TI’s $599 AM437X EVM is equipped with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, plus onboard NAND and eMMC memory. You also get a gigabit Ethernet port, microSD slot, HDMI port, and USB 2.0 OTG and host ports.

TMDXEVM437X top (left) and side views
(click images to enlarge)

Additional I/O includes a UART, dual CAN ports, JTAG, audio I/O, and dual camera modules. The board integrates a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, and has a connector for TI’s optional WiLink 8 combo wireless connectivity modules, supported with Linux software drivers.

In March of this year, TI also announced a Linux-ready industrial version of the kit called the AM437x IDK focused on multi-protocol industrial communication and motor feedback. This arrived shortly after MYIR announced its own Rico Board based on the AM437x.

AM437x EVM running Adeneo’s Android BSP

Further information

The Android 4.4.4 BSP for TI’s AM437x EVM is available for free download as a prebuilt binary image that can be flashed onto a SD/MMC card. A version with source code is available at an unstated price. More information may be found at Adeneo Embedded’s Reference BSP for Sitara product page.

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