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Linux/Android module offers embedded version of Snapdragon 410

Nov 4, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,504 views

The Inforce 6301 COM expands upon the Snapdragon 410 and new 410E, and offers 1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC, WiFi, BT, and GPS for $85, plus $100 for the carrier.

Inforce Computing announced its most affordable “Micro SOM” computer-on-module yet with an $85 Inforce 6301 that runs Android or Linaro’s version of Ubuntu Linux on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 or recently launched 410E embedded version. The industrial temperature resistant module can be bought as part of a $185 starter kit (see farther below).



Inforce 6301 from two perspectives
(click images to enlarge)

The Inforce 6301 is pin, connector, electrical, and form-factor compatible with the company’s other similarly 50 x 28mm Micro SOMs, which include:

 
Embedded Snapdragons

Inforce has previously tapped the Snapdragon 410 for its Inforce 6309 Micro SBC. The quad-core, 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 SoC has been one of the most popular Snapdragon SoCs for embedded along with the Snapdragon 600, which has four 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 like “Krait” cores. In September, Qualcomm chose these two SoCs as the first to be re-released as embedded-oriented models, with the Snapdragon 410E and 600E.

The 410E and 600E appear to be identical to the original versions except for the lack of an integrated 4G LTE baseband. The difference is they’re available to anyone, not just major OEM mobile device partners, and they ship with 10-year availability.

The release of the embedded versions would not mean much if not for the fact that Qualcomm has lately been improving its Linux driver support. Even while recently slamming Qualcomm for its poor open source support, lead Linux maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman acknowledged that the company was improving. Qualcomm now supports Freedreno, for example. OpenGL ES support is now available, and an OpenCL driver is on the way.

Partners like Inforce Computing and Intrinsyc are helping Qualcomm reach out to the embedded world. Inforce, for example, promises to support the 410E and 600E for a minimum of 10 years. Inforce has also added 410E support for its Inforce 6309 SBC, and it’s adding 600E support to its Inforce 6401 Micro SOM and its Inforce 6410P SBC.



Inforce 6301 development process
(click image to enlarge)

Inforce is supporting the Inforce 6301 with BSPs for Android 5.x and Linaro Ubuntu with kernel 4.4.8. The BSPs include drivers for the SoC, USB 2.0, wireless radios, microSD, HDMI, MIPI-DSI with touchscreen, MIPI-CSI, UART, and analog audio. All drivers and source code can be downloaded from the codeaurora.org git, with support from the Code Aurora forum, as described in this BSP delivery PDF.

Qualcomm’s pivot to IoT from mobile, where it owns over half of the smartphone market, was reinforced by its plans to acquire NXP for $39 billion, not long after NXP bought Freescale for $11.8 billion. The deal throws into question the future of some of NXP’s higher end i.MX SoCs. NXP recently announced a 64-bit quad-core i.MX8 SoC for automotive, one of the main market opportunities that led to Qualcomm’s acquisition. However, NXP has plans to release future i.MX8 models for multimedia and low-power IoT that could overlap with embedded Snapdragon models. The i.MX7 appears to be on safer ground, as Qualcomm does not have much in this low-power space except for the very low-end, MIPS-based Atheros wireless SoCs.

 
Inforce 6301 module details

The Snapdragon 410 or 410E SoCs available on the Inforce 6301 module offer four 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores, an Adreno 306 GPU, and a Hexagon DSP for audio and computer vision processing. On the Inforce 6301, the SoC supports H.264/263 (AVC) playback and capture at 1080p30 and H.265 (HEVC) playback at 720p30.



Inforce 6301, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Inforce 6301 includes Qualcomm’s wireless module for 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 with LE, as well as its IZat location engine, which supports GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, and Galileo. The WiFi radio supports Miracast streaming to an external 720 display.


Inforce 6301 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Inforce 6301 is equipped with 1GB LPDDR3 RAM and 8GB eMMC. The module provides a 4-lane MIPI-DSI interface with touchscreen support, as well as dual MIPI-CSI2 with 4/2 lanes for cameras up to 13 megapixels.


Inforce 6301 beside a dime

The audio codec supports a variety of formats from Dolby AC-3 to DTS, and there are 3x mic, 4x line-out, and 1x stereo headphone interfaces. You get USB 2.0 host and SDIO 3.0 interfaces, and the I/O expansion interface supports I2C, 20x GPIO, 5x BLSPs, UART, and JTAG. The 50 x 28mm, 10gm module runs on [email protected] power, and supports -30 to 85°C operation. There’s also a PM8916 PMIC.

 
Inforce 6301 Development Kit

The $185 development kit for the Inforce 6301 includes the module along with a 65 x 55mm carrier board, 5V power adapter, micro-USB cable, and an acrylic base. The board runs on [email protected] power and supports 0 to 70°C operation.




Inforce 6301 Development Kit with 6301 module on top, from three views
(click images to enlarge)

Coastline ports appear to include a power jack, HDMI port, dual USB 2.0 host ports, and a micro-USB 2.0 device port. There’s also a three-pin serial header and a bottom-side microSD slot, among other interfaces.


Inforce 6301 Development Kit block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

 
Further information

The Inforce 6301 is available for $85, and the Development Kit goes for $185 including the module. More information may be found at the Inforce Computing Inforce 6301 and Inforce 6301 Development Kit product pages.
 

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