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Digi Launches the ConnectCore 8M Mini

It’s always exciting to welcome a new member to the family. Digi ConnectCore® 8M Mini is the latest addition to the ConnectCore family of system-on-modules (SOMs). Based on the NXP® i.MX 8M Mini application processor, this integrated SOM platform helps OEMs reduce their development costs and realize a lower total cost of ownership, thanks to its pre-certified wireless connectivity and full support for both Linux Yocto Project (through Digi Embedded Yocto) and Android (through Digi Embedded Android).

Digi ConnectCore 8M Mini offers OEMs a 10+ year product lifecycle and scalability for a range of IoT use cases in applications as varied as industrial, medical, agricultural and transportation. This cost-effective SOM also integrates optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, industrial memory, Digi Microcontroller Assist™ (adding extra features and peripherals), advanced power management, and Digi TrustFence® device security.
Digi ConnectCore 8M Mini SOM
The 8M Mini can be used in virtually any type of display device, including self-service kiosk applications, vending machines, portable medical and measurement equipment, devices that require advanced security to process financial transactions and protect data, outdoor parking meters or in gas stations that offer video advertising at the gas pump. One Digi customer in the medical field is evaluating the 8M Mini in a tablet-type device running Android-based applications and supporting extra-long battery life through advanced performance scaling and power management. It can even be used to run gaming applications – anywhere you need an advanced graphical interface.

8M Nano or 8M Mini?

Embedded development
Digi ConnectCore 8M Mini fits into the Digi product portfolio right between the ConnectCore 8M Nano and the ConnectCore 8X SOMs. The 8M Mini, it’s important to note, is a drop-in replacement for the 8M Nano.
The big difference between the 8M Nano and the 8M Mini is, first of all, in the memory bus bandwidth. The 8M Mini supports a 32-bit LPDDR4 memory bus, adding a significant performance boost for applications that require a high data throughput.
Another feature the 8M Mini offers is a video processing unit (VPU), which adds hardware acceleration for video encoding and decoding. Offloading video encoding and decoding to the VPU frees up the CPU cores for other application tasks. The VPU feature is especially useful for applications showing video content on the display, for example in vending machine or kiosk applications advertising that displays while the device is not used. It also helps with converting video streams into specific codecs needed for further processing in the applications with limited to no impact on the CPU load.
The 8M Mini also provides a PCI Express (PCIe) interface, which is useful for customers to connect high-speed peripherals. The PCIe is a high-speed serial connection that's much faster than many of the other traditional connections for high-speed data transfer.

Keeping It All in the (ConnectCore) Family

A big advantage of the ConnectCore product line is that if, for example, you don't have a great need for video content, you can build your initial application using the 8M Nano. Then, if your application grows and adds more requirements during its lifecycle, for either high-speed data transmission or video graphics, the 8M Mini, as mentioned earlier, is a drop-in replacement for the 8M Nano. You don’t need to redesign or modify your product to add that extra functionality. It's just a small change in the design resulting in major feature additions for your product.

This feature supports scalability, for example when you want to develop multiple versions of your product with varying levels of interactivity and graphics features.

Vending machine example showing SOM scalability
Compared to its big brother ConnectCore 8X, the 8M Mini is available at a significantly lower price point (approximately 30% lower), so it's a more economical alternative when your applications don’t need the processing power or extra features of the 8X. But if your application evolves further, and should you require more processing power in the future for multiple displays, for example, you can drop the higher performance, footprint compatible, ConnectCore 8X into the application and use the Digi ConnectCore Smart IOmux tool to expedite the design process.
Having this range of compatible ConnectCore products allows OEMs to futureproof their designs while controlling their manufacturing and product maintenance costs. 

Bringing Out the Best in the NXP Processor

Diagram of chip with added functionalityDigi TrustFence® security framework, superior power management capabilities and complete wireless connectivity integration. Due to the Digi SMT plus form factor with its high pin count, customers can use every function of the NXP application processor with no sacrifices plus the additions Digi is providing on the SOM.
Digi provides fully validated BSP and operating software with Digi Embedded Yocto Linux and Digi Embedded Android. ConnectCore 8M Mini also includes cloud integrations for AWS, Microsoft Azure and, of course, Digi Remote Manager® (Digi RM). The remote management capabilities of Digi RM enable network managers to monitor devices in the field, access the data and perform secure firmware updates on devices, a key requirement for IoT products to maintain their security throughout their entire product lifecycle.

Industrial Rated for the Great Outdoors

Farming equipment using embedded computers and AI
As an industrial-rated product with an industrial rated processor, ConnectCore 8M Mini has the durability to tolerate temperature extremes from -40 C to +85 C, making it a good choice for any type of outdoor environment. Another strength of Digi industrial products is their guaranteed lifetime expectations. They're rated at 10+ years guaranteed lifetime while operated at a 100% duty cycle 24/7, whereas standard commercial-qualified devices are typically designed for a much shorter lifetime. 

Is the 8M Mini Right for Your Application?

Digi ConnectCore 8M Mini is an excellent choice for a wide range of use cases, offering capabilities to meet the needs of a variety of industries, at the highest quality level. Whether you are developing interactive, media-rich applications for the medical, retail, transportation or gaming industry, a member of the ConnectCore 8 family can support your requirements.
Digi can support your needs for an integrated platform for application development, with tools, security, support and management. Contact us to start a conversation.
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