People consume rich media content of all flavors wherever they go now. And
user expectations in terms of unique experiences and immersive quality are
continuously trending upward. Consumers have proven an insatiable hunger for
sophisticated image and sound. This generation’s eyes and ears are
trained to notice fine degrees of qualitative difference.
Evolving processing capabilities are about to change how users interact with
both technology and content in revolutionary ways. The combination of powerful
serial (CPU) and parallel (GPU) processing—also known as heterogeneous
computing—delivers critical multimedia features to power
next-generation interface and experience breakthroughs, including applications
that use artificial intelligence (AI). What once required a server with
multiple processing cores and a professional-class discrete graphics card can
now be delivered in a personal device.
NXP’s new i.MX 8M family of applications processors
introduces groundbreaking functionality to a wide spectrum of next-generation
devices. The i.MX 8M key features include high-performance compute, power
efficiency and embedded security that will drive rapid proliferation of edge
node computing, rich streaming multimedia and machine learning (ML).
Why Multimedia will be Critical to Next-Gen Devices
Rich, experiential multimedia (4K HDR video, immersive sound, voice control,
computer vision) requires significant compute power. The i.MX 8M family is
based on quad-core Arm® Cortex®-A53 cores running up to 2GHz. It
also includes a high performance 3D graphics GPU capable of processing OpenCL
machine learning inference on chip along with the Arm® Cortex®-M4 to
support voice wake word detection and low power audio playback.
Cloud connectivity on the i.MX 8M expands real-time processing for edge
compute and machine learning applications. This enables devices to take
advantage of AI applications that collect and analyze data in support of
algorithm training on cloud servers. In essence, it gives developers the
ability to create devices that are capable of self-learning and intelligent,
Within the series, the i.MX 8M Mini model introduces
NXP’s first embedded, multi-core, heterogeneous applications processor
built using advanced 14nm FinFET process technology – supporting
high-performance processing with power efficiency for battery-driven devices
in small enclosures.
What’s Now Possible
We’re bringing new capabilities to your next-gen smart designs, as well
as other compute-intensive use cases, such as industrial controls, building
automation, machine vision, imaging and scanning.
The i.MX 8M family capabilities fall into four key solution areas:
Voice: Humans speaking to computers and receiving verbal
replies from an application is both the present and future of human machine
interface (HMI). It’s estimated that users will initiate 50% of
all Internet searches via voice command by 2020.
Supporting voice recognition and response capabilities of digital personal
assistants (for example, Alexa, Siri, Bixby) in smart phones and other home devices
(such as Google Home, Amazon Echo) or industrial controls
Software solution support for reliable voice control in noisy environments
without the addition of a digital signal processor (DSP)
Solutions: Voice control and voice assistants, including
reference designs for homes or noisy industrial environments (HMI)
Audio: The migration of DSP functionality into the Arm core
is driving a system architecture change that enables immersive audio in
compact form factors. With TV panels getting slimmer, audio capabilities are
being separated into detached sound bar devices. Bluetooth speakers are giving
way to new networked Wi-Fi speakers which include voice control capabilities.
These products are always connected and ready to spontaneously answer an
Up to 20 audio channels and digital microphone inputs (up to 8 PDM
microphones) enabled on a price-competitive mobile applications processor
Bringing Dolby Atmos, DSD512 audio and a game-changing selection of advanced
audio streaming interfaces into next-generation devices
Solutions: Streaming audio devices – surround sound,
wireless/networked speakers, sound bars, audio/video (AV) receivers, public
Video: The i.MX 8M family’s HDR (high-dynamic range)
video capabilities were designed in-house—which makes them a unique and
original NXP feature that no other company can offer. By 2018, IP video
will represent 79% percent of all global traffic.
The cord-cutting momentum away from cable subscription is shifting markets
from traditional STBs (set-top boxes) to OTT (over-the-top) IP-based video on
demand. Customer desire for better viewing experiences are driving the need
for updated equipment that supports higher video quality standards and lower
Best-in-class video performance: Up to 4K UltraHD resolution playback of
HEVC, H.264 and VP9 video with HDR for a richer visual experience (with
support for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats)
10-bit video with 50% more colors and up to 40 times more brightness than
current TV displays; HDR can display the finest details for medical imaging,
detailed inspection and magnifying the tiniest objects
Solutions: Streaming video devices (OTTs, STBs), digital
media adapters, digital signage, machine visual inspection, medical imaging
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Connected IoT
devices featuring voice control are already revolutionizing the smart home.
Many home appliances are currently adding voice, face recognition and other
smart controls in current or upcoming models. AI and machine learning (ML)
capabilities will combine with new applications that can be trained to learn
and respond intuitively to drive this market even higher.
MX 8M CPU and GPU resources are available to accelerate machine learning
inference to a new performance level
Uses cloud connectivity with edge compute for algorithmic self-learning to
make fast, accurately predictive ML inferences
Solutions: Next-gen intelligent personal assistants, facial
recognition, autonomous driving, Human Machine Interface (touch, voice,
graphics, video, image analytics, vision, sensor), industrial machine vision
(imaging-based inspection of products and services)
Take Your New Designs Further, Faster with NXP
The i.MX 8M family was designed to accelerate production of devices that will
introduce radical new capabilities and experiences to your customers. Not only
does it offer breakthrough performance and features in an applications
processor, but it does so with a price point and product availability that
makes i.MX 8M products accessible to a larger customer base.
NXP is committed to providing outstanding experiences to our tens of thousands
of customers around the world –and we have a proven track record for
excellence. Building on the decade-long success of the i.MX series of general
purpose application processors, the i.MX 8M family has the same outstanding
technical support, training resources and participation in our longevity
To learn more about i.MX 8M family products visit:
“Why You Need To Prepare For A Voice Search Revolution,” Forbes, January 9, 2018.
“Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology,
2016–2021,” Cisco, September 15, 2017.