NXP and MicroEJ use software containers to accelerate embedded platform development

2 mins read

NXP Semiconductors has announced the NXP Platform Accelerator, developed in collaboration with MicroEJ.

The Platform Accelerator leverages MICROEJ VEE software containers with standard APIs and enables a smartphone-like software design process experience for the industrial and IoT edge.

The use of MICROEJ VEE enables software portability across NXP’s broad portfolio of RTOS-based MCUs and Linux-based Applications Processors, enabling manufacturers to both accelerate new product development and reduce costs. In addition, the NXP Platform Accelerator provides dedicated APIs to create easy access to advanced functionalities integrated in NXP’s processor portfolio, such as power management and 3D/2D graphics.

Smart devices across industrial and IoT markets are challenging to develop and deploy, while many are designed for a single purpose, with fixed functionality and limited computing capability that may be insufficient to support the evolving needs of an increasingly automated environment.

Therefore, scaling product capability requires redeveloping and integrating low-level software, RTOS or higher-level OS, and middleware, which can create major development challenges and significantly slow product development.

The NXP Platform Accelerator solves this by utilising software containerisation that enables binary software portability across the breadth of NXP’s processors portfolio, from MCUs to applications processors.

Reusability at the binary level enables customers to prototype new products as quickly and create a broad portfolio of complex smart devices that evolve with market needs and trends.

Furthermore, the NXP Platform Accelerator enables sandboxed application deployment at the edge, bringing smartphone-like capability to the edge, such as partial or complete over-the-air updates, downloadable apps, and microservices.

“Just like what happened in the smartphone industry, containerisation can be a tremendous tool to drive the rapid development of new smart device platforms," said Charles Dachs, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Industrial and IoT Edge, NXP. "By integrating MicroEJ's software container with NXP's broad portfolio of edge processing solutions, we equip engineers to bring more products to market faster, with reduced costs, and to support the continuous evolution of their smart devices across industrial and IoT markets.”

“Software portability and BoM optimisation are often mutually exclusive,” explained Fred Rivard, CEO of MicroEJ. “The NXP Platform Accelerator combines these two objectives, thanks to tiny software containers. This small-footprint innovation allows developers to benefit from both an optimised bill of materials and a modern software design process.

“This enables engineers to create new products and platforms more quickly, design products that are lower power and lower cost, while still allowing for feature-rich differentiation and innovation by device manufacturers.”

The NXP Platform Accelerator integrates advanced development tools, including simulation, virtual device management and a multi-language framework for combination of C, Java, and JavaScript languages, as well as agile collaboration processes and support for Android Studio, IntelliJ and Eclipse IDEs.

In addition, the platform integrates dedicated APIs for power management and graphic functions, making it extremely easy for customers to utilise the complex and powerful hardware IP brought by NXP. For example, a simple call to “low power profile” from the customer application layer will trigger performance optimisation for a given power profile. In addition, NXP-tailored containers support broad scalability and integrate NXP-specific optimizations and libraries that leverage processor hardware innovations.

The NXP Platform Accelerator is currently available for NXP’s processors, including power-efficient i.MX RT595 and high-performance multi-core i.MXRT1170 crossover MCUs.