NXP and Microsoft Bring Microsoft Azure Sphere Security to the Intelligent Edge

By Chantal Polsonetti

Acquisition or Partnership

NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced collaboration with Microsoft to deliver a new Microsoft Azure Sphere certified crossover applications processor as an extension to their i.MX 8 applications processor series.  Reportedly, the collaboration will deliver a secure, ultra-efficient, intelligent embedded processor for edge nodes that seamlessly runs Azure Sphere’s security platform while also providing multi-core heterogeneous computing, rich graphics experience, and low-power audio processing capabilities.  Limited sampling of the product is planned to begin in Q4 2020.

Azure Sphere security platform is designed to create secure connected devices.  As Azure Sphere-certified, this new processor will include the Microsoft Pluton security sub-system, run the Azure Sphere OS, and connect to the Azure Sphere Security Service that guards every Azure Sphere device by renewing security, identifying emerging threats, and brokering trust between device and cloud.

Dedicated engineering teams from each company will work together to build this new solution, which includes single and dual core versions of power-efficient Arm Cortex-A35, independent real-time domain with Cortex-M33 core, and an independent audio/video processing domain powered by high-performance HiFi4 DSP core; all designed to address the needs of fast-growing Industrial IoT edge applications.  The product will be built using Fully-Depleted Silicon-On-Insulator (FD-SOI) technology and will leverage heterogeneous processor architecture with independent power domains that has been perfected by successive designs of i.MX 8 applications processors covering automotive infotainment, streaming media, and general-purpose consumer and industrial markets.

This new applications processor combines NXPs secure connectivity solutions with Microsoft’s expertise in cloud, security, and software.  The result is a solution designed to make it easy for device manufacturers to build innately secured devices.  The Azure Sphere solution comes with over a decade of OS and security updates to help ensure devices remain secured as the threat landscape evolves over time.

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