Marvell ships first SDK support for Apple’s iOS 8 HomeKit with its ARM IoT chips powering connected appliances
March 16th, 2015
Daniel Eran Dilger
Marvell announced that it is the first silicon vendor to release a complete software development kit (SDK) for Apple’s HomeKit, which it has paired with its controller and wireless components, noting that several manufacturers are already using its products to develop new HomeKit accessories.
Located in Santa Clara, California, Marvell sells an Easy-Connect platform of chips including 802.11n WiFi connectivity in its Avatar 88W8801 SoC paired with an ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller (88MC200), which uses the same power efficient processor core Apple uses in its M7 and M8 motion coprocessors in iPhone 5s and iPhone 6.
The hardware components “provide the essential pieces for enabling a HomeKit solution,” the company notes in its press release. Additionally, the firm’s new “SDK for HomeKit is built on top of the field-proven and industry-leading EZ-Connect Software SDK and greatly simplifies the development of HomeKit accessories.”
Broadcom and Texas Instruments have been shipping Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips with firmware supporting Apple HomeKit since November, but Marvell emphasizes its higher level software development support to accelerate bringing products to market.
To be considered a certified HomeKit device, and thus reap the benefit of branding, manufacturers need to buy wireless chips from one of Apple’s three silicon partners: Broadcom, Marvell or Texas Instruments.
Marvell says its “Internet of Things” platform has already been adopted by a variety of leading vendors “developing connected home products such as appliances, lighting, and home-automation as well as products in other IoT markets such as toys, wearables, accessories, and commercial applications.”
The company, located just 9 miles north of Apple in Silicon Valley, acquired Intel’s XScale ARM chip business in 2006 and has long remained a component supplier for AirPort base stations, MacBooks and other products.
In addition to Broadcom and TI, Marvell also competes with other chip designers in components including Intel and Samsung, particularly in the emerging market for IoT. That’s a market Apple is targeting within the home with its HomeKit framework for easily configuring and automating connected products and groups of devices, featuring integration with Siri.
By making it easier and cheaper for third parties to develop new HomeKit products using its chip platform, Marvell hopes to leverage Apple’s popularity among affluent customers to attract further attention to the nascent, modern home automation market.