Apollo4 Plus and Apollo4 Blue Plus - Secured Cortex M4F MCUs run at 4μA/MHz - Ambiq
March 18, 2022
The Apollo4 Plus and the Apollo4 Blue Plus SoCs, with Enhanced Graphics Performance, More Memory, and Enhanced Security Have Now Joined the Expanded Apollo4 Family Targeting IoT Endpoint Devices with a Tiny Power Budget News Highlights:
The expanded Apollo4 family now offers multiple new features, including enhanced graphics performance resulting in a rich display user interface (UI) and SecureSPOT® for more robust security With up to 2MB of MRAM and 2.75MB of SRAM, the Apollo4 Plus and Apollo4 Blue Plus with Bluetooth® Low Energy 5.1 radio have the compute power and storage to handle complex algorithms and neural networks while displaying vibrant, clear, and smooth graphics Propelling clock frequency up to 192 MHz clock frequency via TurboSPOT® for much lower total system power consumption.
Ambiq®, a technology leader in ultra-low power platforms and solutions, including microcontrollers (MCU), System-on-Chips (SoC), and Real-time Clocks (RTC), introduces an expanded Apollo4 SoC portfolio, including the latest Apollo4 Plus and Apollo4 Blue Plus with Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity with enhanced graphics display capabilities and more robust security features to better protect power-constrained IoT endpoint devices without compromising power efficiency. The wearables market, including smartwatches, smartbands, and smart glasses, together will generate more than $350 billion in cumulative revenues over the next five years (report). The role of wearables is evolving to become essential in medical, wellness, and fitness applications, where user experience, safety, and security are key factors in their purchasing decisions.
The Apollo4 Plus is the 4th generation system processor solution built upon Ambiq’s proprietary Subthreshold Power-Optimized Technology (SPOT®) platform, enabling new features while reducing devices’ overall system power consumption to extend their battery life. Embedded with our megabytes of MRAM, SRAM, ultra-low power processors, solid software stacks, and up to 192 MHz operating frequency with TurboSPOT, the latest SoC to the Apollo4 family empowers more AI-capable operations, including data ingestion, pre-processing, inference, and actuation. Equipped with an ultra-low power, end-to-end audio subsystem, the Apollo4 is designed to run compute complex algorithms required for precise voice recognition and higher fidelity voice capability needed for voice calls. Its powerful, integrated GPU and display controller, coupled with fast and efficient memory access, offer manufacturers the ability to differentiate their products with bigger and richer display user interfaces with vivid colors, high-resolution and smooth graphics. Ambiq’s Secure by Design™ features allow OEMs to secure their products from the ground up when implementing SecureSPOT with tools to implement end-to-end security from the start.
“The future of IoT is in the intelligence of things that stay on and connected 24/7,” said Dan Cermak, VP of Architecture and Product Planning at Ambiq. “The latest product and feature additions to our Apollo4 SoC family demonstrate that battery-operated devices no longer have to compromise performance for power constraints.” The latest addition to the Apollo4 family provides enhanced graphics display and greater voice capabilities to serve as either an application processor or a coprocessor for battery-powered endpoint devices. The Apollo4 Plus is now in mass production, targeting smartwatches and smart bands, consumer medical devices, motion and tracking units, and the smart home of the 21st century.
Secured Cortex M4F MCUs run at 4μA/MHz
Sub-threshold IC company Ambiq has announced two low-power microcontrollers for IoT end-points, one with Bluetooth.
They are Apollo4 Plus and Apollo4 Blue Plus, both with an Arm Cortex-M4 core (up to 192MHz, with floating point), up to 2Mbyte MRAM (4μA/MHz operation executing from MRAM, with cache) and up to 2.75Mbyte of SRAM. The ‘Blue’ version also has a Bluetooth Low Energy 5.1 radio.
Security is addressed with features including secure boot, secure over-the-air updates and secure wired updates.
These are “more robust security features to better protect power-constrained IoT endpoint devices without compromising power efficiency”, according to the company.
Displays up to 500 x 500 are handled through a MIPI DSI 1.2 interface with two data lanes up to 500Mbit/s. Up to four layers with alpha blending, and a 2D/2.5D graphics accelerator is included.
For audio, there is one stereo analogue microphones interface and four stereo digital microphone interfaces as well as two full-duplex I2S ports with ASRC.
“The latest addition to the Apollo4 family provides enhanced graphics display and greater voice capabilities to serve as either an application processor or a co-processor for battery-powered end-point devices,” said Ambiq. The audio subsystem is “designed to compute complex algorithms required for precise voice recognition and higher fidelity voice capability needed for voice calls”.
Operation is over 1.71 to 2.2V and -20 to +60°C, and the devices come in 5 x 5mm 146pin BGAs with 105 GPIO pads.
Applications are foreseen in smart watches, smart bands, smart homes, consumer medical devices, and motion and tracking units.
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