Arduino Updates the Portenta X8 for New Out-of-Box Experience, Full Arduino Cloud Support

New Alpine-Python container brings with it over-the-air updates, Arduino Cloud API access, and a friendlier bootstrap experience.

Arduino has announced an update for its Portenta X8 system-on-module (SOM) in the form of a new Python container — offering a faster out-of-box experience and full compatibility with the Arduino Cloud platform.

"You may have heard about Portenta X8 for its flexibility of usage of Linux combined with real-time applications through the Arduino environment," the Arduino team says of its latest update. "But now, a new set of features have been added to Portenta X8 thanks to its brand-new Arduino Python container. Update your board with the latest image and start exploiting a wide range of unique functionalities."

Launched in May last year, the Portenta X8 is the first Arduino device which acts as a full single-board computer rather than a microcontroller. A system-on-module (SOM) design, the Portenta X8 combines an NXP i.MX 8M Mini system-on-chip with an STMicro STM32H747XI microcontroller — giving it, in total, nine compute cores and full support for the Linux kernel, which arrives pre-loaded on the device in the form of Linux microPlatform OS.

The new update, though, brings a number of improvements — starting with an enhanced out-of-box experience, designed to get users up and running in "just a couple of clicks." Boards updated with the latest software will, Arduino has confirmed, provide an in-browser setup page that offers the ability to configure Wi-Fi details, a new dedicated shell running in a Python-Alpine container, and a self-provisioning system for Arduino Cloud connectivity.

The Portenta X8 is Arduino's most powerful device yet, but until now had lacked support for its Arduino Cloud platform. (📹: Arduino)

Those making use of the latter feature and who have more than one Portenta X8 to play with may also be interested in the update's final feature, the Portenta X8 Manager — a paid-for upgrade which allows for remote maintenance with over-the-air updates to individual devices or fleets of devices. For anyone working on a smaller scale, the new update's Arduino Cloud compatibility still brings advantages — including full support for all Arduino Cloud application programming interface (APIs), allowing a Portenta X8 to feed data to a browser-based dashboard for visualization or later analysis.

Full details on the update, including how to upgrade existing Portenta X8s to the new software, are available in the board's documentation.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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