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Tiny Snapdragon 600 module includes WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS

Oct 20, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,909 views

The tiny 50 x 28mm “Inforce 6401 Micro SOM” module runs Android 4.4 or Ubuntu on a Snapdragon 600 SoC, and offers built-in WiFi-ac, BT 4.0, and GPS/GLONASS.

Inforce Computing’s “Inforce 6401” computer-on-module has the same 50 x 28mm footprint and many of the same features as its higher-end Inforce 6501 COM, which runs on a quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805. The 6401 model instead adopts the Snapdragon 600 (formerly S4 Pro) SoC, which has enjoyed wide adoption in embedded circles.

Inforce 6401 Micro SOM demonstrates its micro-ness

The Snapdragon 600 was found on Inforce’s earlier Snapdragon 600-based Inforce 6400 Qseven module, as well as other COMs like the eInfochips EIC-Q600-200. It also appeared on the Inforce 6410 and Inforce 6410 Plus Pico-ITX SBCs, as well being the core of numerous Android smartphones.

Inforce 6401 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Snapdragon 600 provides four, 28nm-fabricated 1.7GHz “Krait” cores similar to Cortex-A15 cores. You also get Adreno 320 graphics and a “Hexagon” QDSP6V4 DSP, enabling 1080p video capture and playback.

Inforce 6401 angled view
(click image to enlarge)

The Inforce 6401 ships with 2GB of LPDDR2, memory, upgradable to 3GB, which may be the first time we’ve seen the older DDR2 RAM deployed in such capacity. You get a standard 4GB eMMC flash, expandable to 64GB, as well as 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS/GLONASS. An SDIO interface is also provided, which is associated with a microSD slot on the optional carrier board (see farther below).

Inforce 6401 front view (left), and back view showing Qualcomm SoC and board-to-board connectors
(click images to enlarge)

The additional I/O is a slightly scaled down version of what you get with the 6501 Micro SOM, including HDMI, PCIe, and MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces. The module supports three USB ports, one of them OTG, but they’re all version 2.0.

Key features and specs of the Inforce 6401 include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ 8064):
    • 4x Krait 300 cores @ 1.7GHz; 2MB L2 cache
    • Adreno 320 GPU
    • Hexagon QDSP6 V4 (500MHz)
    • 2x ISPs for 2x cams up to 20-megapixel
  • RAM — 2GB LPDDR2 @ 533MHz, (standard), expandable to 3GB
  • Storage — on-board 4GB eMMC 4.4.1/4.5 flash (standard); supports up to 64GB
  • SDIO interface (usable for microSD)
  • Wireless — 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz); Bluetooth 4.0; GPS/GLONASS; antenna connectors
  • A/V interfaces:
    • Micro-HDMI 1.4a
    • 2x MIPI-DSI (4-lane) with touch support
    • Audio (headphone-out, 4x line-out, 3x mic-in); 24bit/192Khz
    • 2x MIPI-CSI (4/2-lane) camera interface
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • JTAG
    • 2x I2C
    • 8x GPIO
    • SDIO interface
    • PCIe (single x1 lane)
    • SPI, UART, Slim Bus
  • Power — 3.3V/6A input
  • Operating temp. — 0 to 70° C
  • Dimensions — 50 x 28mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.4 and Linaro Ubuntu Linux 14.04 BSPs

    Inforce 6401 Development Kit

    The Inforce 6401 module is electrical, pin, and form-factor compatible with other Inforce Micro SOM models and shares a common carrier board design, making it easier to upgrade to future Snapdragon models, says Inforce.

    Inforce 6401 Development Kit
    (click images to enlarge)

    Indeed, the Mini-ITX form-factor baseboard that combines with the Inforce 6401 Micro SOM to form the 6401 Development Kit appears to be identical to the baseboard that’s supplied in the earlier Inforce 6501 Development Kit.

    Inforce 6401 Development Kit block diagram
    (click image to enlarge)

    The baseboard offers features like gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, Embedded DisplayPort, dual camera, USB, and JTAG connectors, as well as mini-PCIe expansion and a microSD card slot, as indicated by the block diagram above.

    Inforce 6501 Micro SOM upgrade

    Since the Inforce 6501 was announced in April, it has received an upgrade, and now comes standard with 16GB eMMC, twice the original amount. Inforce has also updated the Android support for the 6501 module, as well as the Snapdragon 805-based Inforce 6540 SBC with Lollipop (Android 5.0.2). The new Inforce 6401 still offers Android 4.4, however, as well as Linaro Ubuntu Linux 14.04.

    Further information

    The Inforce 6401 Micro SOM is available from the company’s website for $166 by itself, or as part of the Inforce 6401 Development Kit for $371. Additional details may be found at the company’s Inforce 6401 and Inforce 6401 Development Kit product pages.

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