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Yocto driven camera design taps octa-core Snapdragon

Oct 21, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1,383 views

Qualcomm and Thundercomm unveiled a Linux-supported, 4K camera reference design with an octa-core Snapdragon 625 and video analytics software.

Qualcomm and hardware partner Thundercomm Technology announced an IP Connected Camera reference design called the Snapdragon 625 IP Camera built around its 14nm-fabricated, octa-core Cortex-A53 Snapdragon 625 system-on-chip. This is Qualcomm’s first Connected Camera design to support Linux instead of Android.



Snapdragon 625 IP Camera with antenna
(click image to enlarge)

The announcement was one of several at the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. The chipmaker announced a Snapdragon X16 Modem due in early 2017 with Category 16 down, Category 13 up LTE speeds, as well as a Snapdragon X50 5G modem due in 2018. The X50, which operates in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band, offers up to 5Gbps downloads over 800MHz bandwidth. Qualcomm also announced three mid-range smartphone SoCs with dual-camera support and X9 LTE: the Snapdragon 653, 626, and 427.

 
Snapdragon 625 IP Camera

The Thundercomm-built Snapdragon 625 IP Camera follows previous Android-supported Qualcomm Connected Camera designs, such as the hexa-core Snapdragon 650-based Snapdragon 650 IP Camera. Qualcomm mentions 4G LTE in the announcement in a general way, and the Snapdragon 625 SoC itself has an X9 LTE modem with 300Mbps down and 150Mbps up, but the camera specs do not mention 4G, nor do they include the SIM card slot that is clearly evident in the photo. The 625 IP Camera is designed for IP security cameras, as well as bodycams, dashcams, and 360/VR and sports cameras.

The reference design offers a Qualcomm Connected Camera SDK based on Yocto Project 3.18 Linux, with software capabilities for on-camera deep learning, video analytics, security, 4K HEVC video encoding, and wireless streaming over LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth. The SDK is free, but requires signing a legal agreement with Qualcomm.



Snapdragon 625 IP Camera rear view
(click image to enlarge)

Camera processing and analytics capabilities include multi-stream, overlay, HDR video, temporal noise reduction, low bit rate codecs, voice activation, face detection and recognition, intelligent motion detection, and object tracking. All this onboard intelligence frees customers from the need for expensive, server- and cloud-based video analytics, says Qualcomm. “By only streaming data when qualified events happen, the camera platform is designed to reduce network bandwidth requirements and help minimize cloud storage costs,” says the company.

Like Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 820, the Snapdragon 625 SoC was fabricated at 14nm. The 625, which offers eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked to 2.0GHz+, is claimed to deliver 35 percent lower power consumption than the similarly octa-core, Cortex-A53 Snapdragon 617.



Snapdragon 625/430/425 function diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Snapdragon 625 is equipped with the Adreno 506 GPU, Hexagon 546 DSP, and dual 24-megapixel ISPs supporting 4K, 30fps HEVC capture. The Adreno 506 GPU enables VR/360 cameras to process fisheye de-warping and stitching using inputs from multiple image sensors, says Qualcomm.

Wireless features on the Snapdragon 625 include 802.11ac with MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1/BLE, IZat Gen8C location, and the aforementioned LTE technology. The Snapdragon 625 is software but not pin compatible with lower end, 28nm Snapdragon 435 and 425 models, which were similarly announced in February.

The Snapdragon 625 IP Camera is further equipped with a 1/2.3 inch, 8M CMOS camera connected with a CSI interface. It offers 2GB of dual-channel, 933MHz LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB eMMC via an embedded multi-chip package (eMCP) interface. There’s also a microSD slot.

The camera features 802.11DB a/b/g/n/ac WiFi with antenna, IZat Gen8C Lite GPS, and a 10/100 Ethernet port with PoE support. The camera is further supplied with audio in and out jacks, an RS485 serial interface, alarm I/O, and a micro-HDMI port for debugging only. Other features include a reset button, dual LEDs, and a 12V DC input.

 
Further information

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 IP camera reference design should arrive to select OEMs by the end of 2016, and is expected to be available in commercially available cameras shortly thereafter, says Qualcomm. More information may be found in the Snapdragon 625 IP Camera announcement and Thundercomm product page.
 

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