Hardware Development Kit for Qualcomm QCS8250-based SoM


The Penguin Edge™ SYS68A1 Hardware Development Kit (SYS68A1) from Penguin Solutions™ couples the IFC68A1 Micro SoM with a useful carrier board to bring out all important native interfaces and compute power of the Qualcomm QCS8250 processor. The easy-to-use platform enables a quick time to market of premium embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) Android based products that are based on the Qualcomm QCS8250 processor at a great price point. Penguin Edge custom camera modules with up to 4K encode capability are plug-n-play accessories for this platform.

What’s included in the kit?

The SYS68A1 Hardware Development Kit (SYS68A1) , comes with the (a)IFC68A1 Micro SoM, (b) a carrier board and (c) a starter kit that includes a 12V power adapter and USB-C cable.

Qualcomm® QCS8250 Micro SoM based Reference Design

The Penguin Edge IFC68A1 Micro SoM based reference design brings out all important native interfaces of the QCS8250 processor to help developers create and optimize their products quickly, cost-effectively and with lower risk.

The QCS8250 SoC based platform offers an improved user experience with 4K UHD HEVC video, multimedia, and connectivity options!

  • Customized 64-bit Octo-core Kyro 585 CPU built on Arm Cortex technology: Delivers high-value features with optimized power, manufactured in advanced 7nm process for superior performance
  • Adreno™ 650 GPU: Delivers highest graphics performance and power efficiency
  • Hexagon™ 690 DSP: Run power efficient ML and DNN algorithms for advanced Visual Attention with quad Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) and Qualcomm® Neural Processing SDK framework
  • Spectra™ 480 ISP: Enables image capture at 64MP@30fps ZSL with no shutter lag and quick autofocus
  • Adreno™ DPU995 Display Engine: Enables dual concurrent display content at HEVC 10bit and VP9 decode

Block Diagram

68A1 Devkit block diagram


Based on Qualcomm QCS8250 processor manufactured in 7nm FinFET LPP process

  • 64-bit CPUs arranged as quad high-performance cores at 2.419 GHz and quad low-power cores at 1.8 GHz
  • Adreno™ 650 GPU with 64 bit addressing supports developers with support for the latest graphics APIs and realistic 3D imagery
  • Hexagon™ compute DSP with quad Hexagon Vector eXtensions for video playback/capture enhancements and Hexagon Coprocessor to to offload and accelerate the Hexagon software algorithms
  • 14-bit dual Image Signal Processors (ISPs) to derive multiple cameras or HDMI Inputs at UHD@60 fps

Processing Power, Memory and Storage

  • Qualcomm® QCS8250 SoC processor
  • 8GB on-board LPDDR5
  • 64GB eMMC
  • SD card slot
  • Intelligent scalable power management for superior energy efficiencies

Audio, Video, Interface and Connectivity

  • UltraHD (4K) display on USB-C. H.264 (AVC)/H.265 (HEVC)VP9 playback @4K30 8-bit
  • 3x Camera encode/capture of HEVC @4K30 8-bit
  • Audio Combo Jack – Hi-Fi Audio with the WCD9385 audio codec
  • 802.11 ax 2×2 MIMO DBS WiFi 6; BT 5.1
  • Dual 4-lane MIPI-DSI
  • IO expansion header for GPIOs, UARTs, I2Cs and SPIs

Power, Mechanical and Environmental

  • Power Input: 12V/3A DC Adapter
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 100mm
  • Operating Temp: 0° to +50° C (Commercial)
  • Relative Humidity: 5 to 95% non-condensing
  • RoHS and WEEE compliant

Penguin Solutions offers SKU variants of the Penguin Edge SYS68A1 Hardware development kit to suit varied end-use applications.

Part Number Description
IFC68A1-00-P1 QCS8250 based SoM, Android OS, 8GB LPDDR5, 64GB UFS. Commercial Temperature (0-50) support
SYS68A1-00-P1 IFC68A1-00-P1 based reference design.



  • Early access to leading edge APIs and next generation features.
  • Long-term commitment of supply assurance from product introduction
  • A product roadmap that keeps developers on the latest technology curve from Qualcomm


Qualcomm QCS8250 Processor Product Brief Download
The BSP explained Download
The IFC68A1 Datasheet Download
The SYS68A1 Hardware Reference Manual Download

Qualcomm® QCS8250 – A high-performance IoT SoC for the premium-tier segment

The Qualcomm® QCS8250 IoT SoC delivers maximum performance for compute intensive camera and Edge AI applications with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. It brings together Qualcomm’s latest technologies into a highly integrated chipset to deliver maximum performance with exceptional features. This chip is purpose built for enterprise and commercial IoT applications such as video collaboration, smart camera, connected healthcare, smart retail and more.

Here are a few features of the Qualcomm QCS8250 SoC

  • Custom CPU – The custom built ARM® Cortex technology based Kryo octo-core CPU has the highest performance among Qualcomm’s IoT chipsets
  • Hexagon DSP – The Hexagon DSP with dual Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) and a dedicated coprocessor, operates at 1.5Ghz for running DNN models and enables advanced imaging and computer vision tasks.
  • Adreno GPU – With improved performance, the Adreno 650 GPU supports more efficient rendering of advanced 3D graphics. Developers gain access to the latest graphics APIs like OpenGL 3.1, EGL 1.4 and OpenCL 2.0 full profile.
  • ISP – The 14-bit Qualcomm ISP is engineered to support capture of up to 64 megapixels on a single camera with superior image quality in zzHDR, video denoising, mid/low frequency denoising and lens shading correction.
  • AI Engine – The Qualcomm AI Engine efficiently runs complex AI and deep learning workloads and on-device edge inferencing at very low power.

Qualcomm QCS8250 based platforms combine the heterogeneous compute capabilities of this SoC with integrated connectivity, a full featured USB-3.1 interface, multiple encodes and decodes and ample internal memory.

The product is thus a great fit for enterprise IoT applications such as:

  • Smart cameras systems
  • Intelligent retail systems
  • High-performance UHD video conferencing/collaboration devices

Android 10 BSP release

  • Periodic Android based BSP releases include in-depth documentation along with a host of royalty-free multimedia codecs
  • Contact Sales team at PenguinEdgeSales@penguinsolutions.com for software solutions and customizations

The full-featured releases have support for the following peripheral devices and I/Os:

  • Qualcomm QCS8250 processor 64-bit octo-core CPUs running full frequency
  • USB-3.1
  • WiFi 802.11ax with DBS; Bluetooth 5.1
  • SD card access and USB memory, USB, I2S and low speed peripherals(I2C/I3C/UART/SPI) through BLSP programming
  • Persistent MAC address programming for WiFi/BT
  • MIPI-DSI based displays with touch screen support
  • MIPI-CSI based camera capable of rendering preview or capture a stream in UHD
  • Audio
  • Qualcomm SDKs’ support
  • Control of user provisioned LEDs

Specialized solutions through SDKs from Qualcomm that are enabled from the BSP on IFC68A1 Micro SoM

  • Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK, for artificial intelligence (AI) is designed to run one or more neural network models trained in Caffe/Caffe2, ONNX, or TensorFlow on Snapdragon platforms, whether that is the CPU, GPU or DSP and provides customers a powerful, energy efficient platform for delivering intuitive and engaging deep learning-driven experiences on their product.
  • The Hexagon™ SDK that is designed to enable device manufacturers and independent software providers to optimize the features and performance of multimedia software. These optimizations help allow audio, imaging, embedded vision, and heterogeneous computing acceleration on the Hexagon DSP embedded in Snapdragon processors.


1. What is IFC68A1 Micro SoM?

The Penguin Edge IFC68A1 Micro SoM is a high performance tiny System on Module (SoM) solution for embedded systems designers. It is based on Qualcomm’s custom Octa-core 64-bit Kryo(585) CPU (QCS8250) processor for IoT applications. The plug-and-play IFC68A1 Micro SoM comes in a small form factor of 35mm x 53mm.

2. Does Penguin Solutions offer a reference carrier board for its SoMs or other form factors based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor?

Yes. Penguin Solutions offers a reference carrier board for this SoM. Most of the native interfaces of the QCS8250 processor are brought out on this carrier. Please refer to the reference design product page for more details. The reference design comprises of the IFC68A1 SoM and the carrier board. We would be glad to help customers design their own carrier boards.

3. Does Penguin Solutions provide any custom design solutions since some designs wouldn’t be able to use the standard SoM’s form factor and or features?

Yes, while we offer standard products off-the-shelf (OTS) on our website and through our multiple distributors, we also have a strong background in customized hardware and software solutions. We offer pre-validated build-to-order (BTO) configurations, as well as configure-to-order (CTO) options for existing products. For customers wanting to design their own unique form-factor carrier board to interface with the OTS IFC68A1 Micro SoM, we offer design assistance support packages that include dedicated engineer, reference schematics and design reviews—contact our sales team for more details. In addition, Penguin Solutions also offers full custom hardware design and associated software/device driver development, for those projects where a unique hardware design is required to meet sophisticated technical challenges.

4. Where can I find more information about the SYS68A1 Dev kit? What do I get when I buy an SYS68A1 Dev kit? Is the product available internationally?

Details specific to the 68A1 dev kit are available at https://www.penguinsolutions.com/edge/products/reference-designs/qualcomm-QCS8250-inforce-68A1-reference-design. The SYS68A1 Dev kit includes the IFC68A1 Micro SoM plugged-in to the carrier board through B2B connectors and a starter kit that includes a 12V power adapter and USB-C cable. Once you register the product with us, you would get dedicated support. The board ships to most places worldwide and relevant shipping and local tax/customs duty charges may apply. Please contact PenguinEdgeSales@penguinsolutions.com for pricing details or any additional questions that you may have before buying an SYS68A1.

5. Does Penguin Solutions have a blog?

Yes! You can find our periodic blogs at https://www.penguinsolutions.com/edge/resources/blog/. Here you can keep up with all of the latest information about Penguin Solutions products, conference/trade show appearances, and innovative customer case-studies and applications.


6. What are the accessories available?

Our website https://www.penguinsolutions.com/edge/products/accessories lists all the available accessories. Do have a look at the applicable accessories for each of our products. Please note that User Guides and product datasheets are available for all accessories.

7. Does the 68A1 Dev kit support a cellular or GSM connection?

The IFC68A1 does not include support for a wireless modem. Third party cellular modem dongles can be connected to the IFC68A1 based development kit via USB ports and may require special drivers from the respective manufacturers. We can also help you design in a 3rd party cellular modem module in your custom carrier board that is mated with an Penguin Solutions Micro SoM.

8. Does the product support extended temperatures?

Yes, we can help customers support extended temperatures on their product based on our Micro SoM. We provide a detailed app note on determining a suitable solution for heat transfer from the SoM. We will be glad to propose a cooling solution for the thermal dissipation of heat for the full system too after we have details of your chassis.

9. What is the storage capacity of the IFC68A1 Micro SoM? Is it expandable?

The on board storage (UFS) capacity is 64GB. Storage can be expanded by connecting a Micro-SD card or USB storage on the SYS68A1 development kit.

10. What are the performance details of the IFC68A1? What is the speed of the RAM?

The IFC68A1 Micro SoM is based on the Qualcomm QCS8250 SoC, which includes custom Qualcomm® Kryo™ Octa-core 64-bit CPUs organized as two clusters viz., Performance@2.8GHz each and Efficiency@1.8GHz each with 4MB shared L3 cache.

The onboard 8GB LPDDR5 RAM operates at 2750 MHz.

All our Android releases are benchmarked with Antutu and validated with the Qualcomm Trepn™ Profiler to ensure that all cores are capable of operating at their maximum frequency.

11. What is the stacked height of the SoM mounted on the carrier board?

IFC68a1 micro som factor

The height of the IFC68A1 Micro SoM is 7.5mm with the presence of the EMI shield. This is the full height when mounted on mating connectors on the carrier board.

12. What types of displays are supported and at what resolutions?

The QCS8250 natively supports dual-link MIPI-DSI and USB-C with DP Alternate Mode. The SYS68A1 Development Kit has a 51-pin FI-R DSI connector with support for dual MIPI-DSI ports. Note that the displays are not provided as peripherals with the SYS68A1 development kit. They can be purchased from https://www.penguinsolutions.com/edge/products/accessories.

13. What are the capabilities of the video Decoder/Encoder on the IFC68A1 Micro SoM?

Please refer to https://developer.android.com/guide/appendix/media-formats.html for supported codecs from Android. Hardware accelerated capabilities of the QCS8250 SoC are: Video Decode – Supports H.265 Main 10, H.265 Main, H.264 High, VP9 Profile 2, VP8, MPEG-2 codecs up to 4K240 or 8K60 Video Encode – Supports H.265 Main 10, H.265 Main, H.264 High, VP8 codecs up to 4K120 or 8K30

14. What are the camera capabilities of the IFC68A1 Micro SoM?

The IFC68A1 Micro SoM has five MIPI-CSI camera interfaces that support 4 lanes from CSI0, CSI1, CSI2, CSI4 and CSI5 each and one MIPI-CSI camera interface that supports 2 lanes from CSI3. The 68A1 Dev kit brings out CSI0, CSI1 and CS12 interfaces on its 3 MIPI-CSI connectors.

15. How much power does the SoM draw? Is it possible to measure the power?

The IFC68A1 SoM takes 3.8V power input. The development kit is powered by a 12V/3A wall adaptor. Our products typically offer support for 7V-16V power input range. The total power consumed by the SYS68A1 Development Kit ranges between 6W to 17W when different use cases are executed. There are a few test points made available to measure run-time power on the board. The input current through the DC jack can be measured during different use-cases. Please note that we run the Qualcomm Trepn™ profiler as part of our validation process on all of our stock Android releases.

16. What are the audio capabilities of the SoM?

The available audio interfaces from the SoM are – Soundwire/LPI_MI2S2/DMIC – 2X DMIC/LPI_MI2S1 – 1x MI2S2 – 1x MI2S0/GPIO Audio is brought out as 1x Earout, 1x AuxOut and 5x Mic-In (3x Analog Mic-In + 2x Analog Mic-In / Digital) from the WCD9385 audio codec on the SoM. On the 68A1 dev kit, audio is brought out on a combo jack as line-outs, and mic-in. Audio is also available from the USB lines.

17. What are the sensor capabilities?

The QCS8250 processor’s Hexagon DSP cluster has a dedicated sensor core to support always-on low-power sensor-aware apps.

18. What documents are provided? Are board design files also provided?

We provide datasheets, user guide and a Hardware Reference Manual. Schematics are not provided for the IFC68A1 Micro SoM. Schematics for the dev kit can be made available based on the business case and please contact our sales team for this. Board design files are proprietary and are the intellectual property of Penguin Edge, and hence not provided. All software releases are accompanied with release notes, user guides and application notes that describe the installation procedure.

19. What is the support model after products are purchased?

We offers a range of standard products off-the-shelf (OTS) on its website and through our distributors (Arrow/Mouser/Atlantik). Apart from these, it offers pre-validated build-to-order (BTO) configurations, as well as configure-to-order (CTO) options for existing products. In addition, we also offer full custom hardware design and associated software/device driver development, for those projects where a unique design is required to meet sophisticated technical challenges. All purchases of our products get unlimited access to the online TechWeb support portal, which provides a host of technical documentation and software downloads. Purchasers are also provided free technical support for two support tickets. For a sustained technical support, Penguin Solutions offers Design Assistance Support Contracts for shorter periods of time and Annual Support Contracts for its customers who would like unlimited prioritized technical support. Please contact PenguinEdgeSales@penguinsolutions.com to obtain more details of the support contracts.

20. Is there a way to automatically boot up the reference design, when the system is electrically powered?

Yes, this is possible but will involve a hardware rework. On the carrier board, please mount a 0Ω resistor for R243 (location shown below). Do note that the warranty becomes void once the hardware is modified by you.

IFC68a1 micro som factor

Networking, IO and Wireless

21. Does the device support networking and wireless communication?

Supported connectivity includes 802.11ax 2X2 MIMO WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.1LE (available via WCN3990).

22. How can I change the MAC address for WiFi/BT/Ethernet on my board?

MAC addresses are fixed at the factory. Changing them should not be necessary since the correct addresses are programmed before the board is shipped. If it is still required, please refer to the Release Notes and App Notes available on Penguin Solutions TechWeb support portal.


23. What operating systems are supported and what is the OS roadmap for the IFC68A1 Micro SoM?

A Board Support Package (BSPs) for Android 10 is available today as an officially supported package on the Penguin Solutions TechWeb. Periodic releases shall be provided with feature improvements on this package. Penguin Solutions also upgrades the BSPs to newer Android releases when available from Qualcomm, to support feature improvements on its platforms. Please stay tuned for announcements on our website for update releases.

24. Is root access possible on Penguin Solutions boards? Could you please explain how to get root privileges in Android?

Yes. As Android derives from the Linux kernel, rooting an Android device gives similar access administrative permissions as on Linux. Please give below commands in adb shell to get root privileges #adb root #adb remount

25. I’ve modified the boot partitions on my board and the board is no longer booting. What should I do?

If the UFS (flash memory) partitions have been erased or the partition table has been corrupted, you can recover through a procedure that uses the USB port. Please logon to our Techweb repository to access the necessary document.

26. Is the Hexagon DSP available on the IFC68A1 platform?

Yes. Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP architecture is designed to deliver performance with low power over a variety of heterogeneous computing applications. It has features such as hardware assisted multithreading, privilege levels, VLIW, SIMD and instructions geared toward efficient signal processing. The IFC68A1 micro SoM comes with the Hexagon™ 690 DSP with dual-Hexagon vector processor for ultra-low-power audio and computer vision processing.

Qualcomm also opens up a comprehensive Hexagon SDK for all its processors that provides for a complete environment to generate dynamic Hexagon DSP code modules. Please check

https://developer.qualcomm.com/software/hexagon-dsp-sdk for downloading the SDK.

27. Why isn’t Google Play (previously Android Market) available on my board?

Google Play is part of Google Mobile Services (GMS) and is licensed separately by Google. This is usually available on commercial Android devices. Though our hardware is capable of meeting requirements of the Google Test Suite that would lead to GMS certification, we have not added this to our product. Please contact our sales team if this is a requirement for your product. Nevertheless, it is possible to side-load any Android application using the following commands:

#adb devices

#adb mount

#adb remount

#adb install apk

Should you have further questions not answered by the above FAQ and would like to have them included here, please contact PenguinEdgeSales@penguinsolutions.com.

Penguin Solutions offers a range of off-the-shelf accessories that enable you to re-create system configurations that your customers need. These accessories are custom built by Penguin Solutions and are supported with a strong roadmap. The accessories listed below are suitable for the reference design based on Qualcomm SD660 (Snapdragon 660) Micro SoM. They are mostly cross compatible with all SoM based reference designs from Penguin Solutions.

Penguin Edge ACC-1H70 MIPI-CSI CAMERA MODULE for Qualcomm SD660 Ref Penguin Edge ACC-1H70 21 MP MIPI-CSI CAMERA MODULE KIT


A MIPI-CSI camera accessory based on Sony’s IMX230 which is a 21 Mega Pixel CMOS active pixel type stacked image sensor with a square pixel array. It adopts Exmor RS™ technology to achieve high speed image capturing. This camera module interfaces with a cable to the 41 pin MIPI-CSI connectors available on the INfroce SoM based reference designs and some of Penguin Solutions SBC products. It operates with three power supply voltages and achieves low power consumption. It offers a readout rate of 24 frames per second at full resolution and HDR mode imaging of 30fps@4K2K/1080p@60. A 41-pin JF08 cable is also included in this kit.



An UH2C/1080p Camera adapter board using Toshiba’s UHDMI to CSI conversion chip. It uses a Type A HDMI connector to receive the HDMI input and feeds CSI data into the Penguin Solutions Systems through two 41-pin MIPI-CSI connectors. There is no additional power supply required for this module. This module is Capable of supporting 1080p on a single CSI-2 using 4 lanes and 4k using dual CSI-2 using 8 lanes. The necessary cables are included with this accessory.

Penguin Edge ACC-1S80 ULTRA HDMI INPUT ADAPTER CARD for Qualcomm SDA660 SoM Ref

*- Optional software. Contact sales team at PenguinEdgeSales@penguinsolutions.com for enabling this accessories.