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Update 18.11 for Azure Sphere in public preview

Posted on November 15, 2018

Partner Director of Engineering, Azure Sphere

In September 2018, Azure Sphere was released for public preview. Today, we are pleased to announce the 18.11 update to the Azure Sphere Operating System, Azure Sphere Security Service, and Visual Studio development environment. This release includes substantial investments in our security infrastructure and our connectivity solutions, and it incorporates some of your feedback.

This is the first update to our public preview release, and we plan to release additional updates quarterly. Notification of software updates, new product features, tips and tricks, termination of support for older preview software, and other useful information will be posted on the Azure Updates website. Subscribe to Azure Update notifications through the RSS Feed to stay up to date with the latest Azure Sphere news.

Features in the 18.11 release

This release features strategic improvements in our internal security mechanism to allow devices that have been offline for an extended period to easily reconnect to the Azure Sphere Security Service. After manufacture, connected devices might spend months in a warehouse, during which root certificates stored on the device could expire. The Azure Sphere Security Service now seamlessly handles expired root certificates to ensure that devices that are intermittently connected or are disconnected for long periods of time can always connect and securely update to the latest OS.

In response to customer feedback, we have also invested in connectivity solutions. You wanted a way to configure Wi-Fi on the Azure Sphere device without using a PC. The 18.11 release includes a reference solution that demonstrates how to configure a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module to work with Azure Sphere. We provide sample code, design information, and documentation. By implementing a custom solution based on the sample, you can configure Wi-Fi for Azure Sphere by using a mobile app with a Bluetooth connection.

Additional new features include:

  • Real-time clock (RTC). A Beta API enables applications to set and use the internal clock and leverages support for using a coin-cell battery to ensure the RTC continues to keep time when power is lost.
  • Mutable storage. A Beta API provides access to a maximum of 64k for storage of persistent read/write data.
  • External MCU update. A reference solution shows how your application can update the firmware of additional connected MCUs.
  • Private Ethernet. The MT3620 now supports connecting to a private, 10 Mbps network via the Microchip Ethernet part over a serial peripheral interface (SPI). This functionality allows an application running on the A7 chip to communicate with devices on a private network via standard Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) networking. Stay tuned to the Azure Updates website for more information about this capability.
  • Beta API targeting. Beta APIs are still in development and may change in or be removed from a later release. Starting with this release, we make them available for testing and feedback so that you can get a head start on using new features. You can target applications for either the production APIs or the production and Beta APIs.

Questions?

Thank you to all our preview customers for your comments and suggestions. If you have not yet engaged with us, we encourage you to do so. Microsoft engineers and Azure Sphere community experts respond to product-related questions on our MSDN Forum and development questions on StackOverflow. We also welcome product feedback and new feature requests.

Visit our website for documentation and more information on how to get started with your Azure Sphere development kit.