DASQI - Apollo4B - board certification review
Apollo4 Blue is a microcontroller chip developed by Ambiq Micro that is purpose-built to serve as both an application processor and a coprocessor for battery-powered endpoint devices, including smartwatches, children’s watches, fitness bands, animal trackers, far-field voice remotes, predictive health and more. It is built on the 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M4 core with Floating Point Unit (FPU) and has up to 2MB of MRAM and 1.8MB of SRAM. With this amount of compute power and storage, it can handle complex algorithms and neural networks while displaying vibrant, crystal-clear, and smooth graphics. If additional memory is required, external memory is supported through Ambiq’s high-bandwidth multi-bit SPI and eMMC interfaces. DASQI Apollo4B board can display 454*454 Round AMOLED Display, QSPI interface, Capacitive touch pad, and has SD-CARD slot , supported LVGL file system interface.The board also has RTK GPS high accuracy location positioning, Accelerometer + GYRO + E-Compass, Barometer, Current Sensor features, and I2C/SPI/UART/MIPI interfaces.
Apollo4B earned Standard LVGL board certification which means the users can be sure that it’s easy to use that board with LVGL and they can expect decent performance and quality.
The Apollo4B board can be purchased directly from DASQI via the form at https://dasqi.com/apollo4b/.
CPU and memory
- MCU Ambiq Apollo4 Blue (192MHz)
- RAM 1.8MB SRAM
- Flash 2MB of MRAM
- GPU 2D and 2.5D
- Resolution 454x454
- Display size 1.39”
- Color depth 16bit,RGB565
- Technology AMOLED
- DPI 460 px/inch
- Touch pad Capacitive
- Bluetooth 5.1 Low Energy Technology
- SD card slot
- BMP390 Barometer, High Performance Barometric Pressure Sensor for Altitude Tracking
- Power supply USB Type C (5V)
Frame rate (FPS)
The Apollo4B board reached 22 FPS on the LVGL’s certification benchmark. In the video, you can see that smaller changes were drawn quickly, and scrolling the list was smooth. However, the stripes jumping on the rhythm of the music and scaling of the cover image worked with ~17 FPS.
The chip is equipped with 2MB of MRAM (which is a non-volatile memory, similar to flash). It is enough to store the code of the UI and application, and some assets, but if you need a lot of images or many large fonts probably an external flash will be required too.
On the other hand the internal 1.8MB SRAM is quite large. 2 full frame buffers will use only 50% of the RAM.
In case you would need extra memory, the chip has memory interfaces, so it’s possible to add external RAM and flash.
This board comes with an AMOLED display and an exceptional (460 dpi) pixel density. So the quality of the display is just amazing.
The display is equipped with a capacitive touchpad. Therefore it recognizes touches with a good precision and provides a smartphone like experience. The drawback is that the touchpad can not be used in gloves or with a pen.
Apollo4B is development board, not intended to placed to an end product. Regardless to it’s quite robust.
DASQI recommends the Keil MDK IDE to develop the project. They have placed the required get started material to https://github.com/DASQI-CORP/apollo4bplusv10.
For more information visit https://dasqi.com/apollo4b/
The DASQI Apollo4B board is compact product with many sensors and peripheries to try out. It’s clearly designed to be used in smart watches. Its display is fantastic and can compete with smartwatches in the market. The performance of the board is okay. You can do a lot of great things with it, but for complex animations and transformation the FPS can drop below 15.