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Mender Enables Over-The-Air Software Updates in NXP's i.MX 8M Family of Application Processors

We are excited to announce our collaboration with NXP to facilitate the ever increasing demand for over-the-air (OTA) software updates in industrial, consumer, end-to-end security, privacy and smart connected Internet of Things (IoT) markets. NXP is the world leader in high performance mixed signal solutions holding number one position in various verticals including Automotive and Identification industries. Integrating Mender, an open source, robust and secure OTA software update manager for connected devices, NXP customers worldwide using one of the i.MX 8M applications processor family members gain access to a best in class OTA update solution, ‘out of the box’. This collaboration adds to Mender’s existing partnerships with world renowned brands such as Microsoft's Azure IoT, Google’s IoT Core Cloud Platform, and with customers such as Toradex, JFrog, Nokia, Ather Energy and many more.

“This collaboration between NXP Semiconductor and Mender is important because it ensures more devices in the world have seamless support for OTA updates in the field.” said Eystein Stenberg, Mender CTO and Co-founder. “Over-the-air updates too often become an afterthought until a disaster strikes, for example a security compromise. Therefore, we are very happy to work with forward-thinking companies like NXP Semiconductors to ensure support for OTA updates becomes the de facto requirement in devices worldwide.''

With the advent of IoT and the proliferation of connected embedded devices across a variety of industry verticals, one of the biggest challenges in developing competitive products is the ability to efficiently deliver remote software updates, while using industry best practices in security and robustness. Due to the scale of connecting devices and the numerous vulnerabilities that have affected devices across all automotive and smart connected home markets, support for OTA updates has become a mandatory requirement for connected devices. An update mechanism requires attention to security nuances and is crucial to a product’s reputation and end-user satisfaction given the potential repercussions of ‘bricked’ or compromised devices.

Mender is used by many NXP i.MX 8M processor family customers. Due to the increasing demand for a secure and robust OTA updates solution, Mender and NXP have collaborated on a device integration for the i.MX 8M Quad, and i.MX 8M Mini family of processors which is compatible with the Yocto Project. This means that customers of NXP’s i.MX 8M family development kits will have OTA update capability fully integrated -- from Mender -- right ‘out of the box’ by using NXP and Mender Yocto Project layers!

The official NXP i.MX Yocto Project BSP release now has a Mender repo manifest and README that can be used in an existing i.MX 8M applications processor build. To get started from scratch, instructions are provided for i.MX 8M Evaluation Kit and the i.MX 8M Mini EVK for building an image that can run on the respective boards which will have Mender integrated to perform OTA software updates. The integration creates Yocto Project images, including a disk image that can be flashed to the device storage during initial provisioning and an artifact containing filesystem image file that Mender can deploy over-the-air.

“Many voice and streaming audio ecosystems mandate OTA firmware update support, without including this in the related Software Development Kits (SDKs), and this is where Mender provides a ready to use robust, secure and reliable OTA solution” said Rudan Bettelheim, i.MX Marketing, NXP Semiconductors. The Mender-NXP integration brings an ‘out of the box’ OTA software update solution to NXP and its customers that enable them to go to market faster and cheaper without the need to spend resources on developing a homegrown solution.

Mender supports both application and system updates, which means it provides a one-stop solution for all updating needs. System updates provide a brick-safe way to patch the latest security (firmware and software) updates, limits application sprawl and ensure all software is consistent across devices. Application updates provide small, fast, and targeted updates to the applications allowing for new, or enhanced features to hit the market faster.