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Monday, January 07, 2019

Quad core Smart Audio board adds Google Assistant

By Nick Flaherty

Frontier Smart Technologies has launched a quad-core board with Google Assistant support for smart audio designs in the smart home.

Minuet 2 is a turnkey solution which allows OEMs and ODMs to integrate Google Assistant and Chromecast into high-performance smart audio products. Minuet 2 meets the latest requirements from Google – providing manufacturers with a high-quality, cost-effective technology solution that keeps pace with developments in the smart IoT space.

Built around the AMLogic A113X SoC with four Cortex A53 64-bit processor cores and a high-performance Marvell Wi-Fi/BT SoC which supports 802.11ac 2x2 and BT/BTL 4.2, the Minuet 2 is designed to be used at the centre of hi-fidelity smart audio products, such as soundbars, wireless speakers, AVRs, surround sound systems and hi-fi systems.

Minuet 2 can also be used to add Google Assistant into non-audio IoT products - providing an intuitive user interface for smart home and B2B devices.

Multiple interfaces are provided on Minuet 2 ensuring that it can be used in a variety of use cases. These include a range of audio interfaces such as multiple microphone connections using PDM, a generous number of I2S input and output channels and SPDIF. A number of system interfaces are also provided, including an ethernet interface, USB 2.0, general purpose IO plus I2C and UART serial connections.

Minuet 2 has been designed as a major component in a complete hardware and software system that includes Frontier’s SmartSDK, a fully featured Linux based software framework for audio products, and a fully qualified reference design. Alongside the module and software, Frontier also provides customization and pre-compliance services that minimize the time and cost required to get these sophisticated products to market.

“Minuet 2 brings a new level of performance to turnkey solutions for embedding Google Assistant and Chromecast," said Steve Evans, General Manager and Vice President Smart IoT,  "The combination of a quad core SoC with highly reliable audio streaming using 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi will enable brands and ODMs to build high quality smart audio products with Google Assistant built-in with predictable development schedules. As a pre-certified solution, Minuet 2 will help keep time-to-market to a minimum. Frontier’s Asia-based customer support networks will help ODMs through the entire product development process.”

Another component offered with Minuet 2 is Frontier Nuvola, a cloud-based service managed by Frontier. Frontier Nuvola provides secure OTA software updates and other device management functions ensuring that critical updates and new features can be pushed out to installed devices.

Minuet 2 is expected to be ready for mass production in the middle of 2019.

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