There are two major reasons for reading this blog post:
- A 32-bit microcontroller that sells for as little as $0.49 in 10K quantities and consumes 50µA/MHz
- A $12.95 development board to be available late in September
These are two of the salient attributes of the Freescale Kinetis L microcontroller, previewed at Design West in San Jose back in March and now announced at the Freescale Technology Forum in San Antonia with alpha samples shipping. The target for this product is the vast sea of products and applications that currently incorporate 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers—mainly for reasons of legacy code, legacy familiarity, and cost. It will take a compelling product to hurdle these barriers and the low prices for the Kinetis L silicon and development board will help to jump those hurdles.
The Freescale Kinetis L series of microcontrollers are based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor core, announced last March. (See “How low can you go? ARM does the limbo with Cortex-M0+ processor core. Tiny. Ultra-low-power.”) Here’s a short video describing the unique features of the ARM Cortex-M0+ core by Eduardo Montañez, the Freescale Systems Engineer who demonstrated the Kinetis L microcontroller to me at Design West earlier this year:
You can find out a lot more technical details about the Kinetis L microcontroller series from this previous EDA360 Insider blog post, “Freescale demonstrates first-pass Kinetis L silicon at Design West (The conference formerly known as the Embedded Systems Conference).”
The reason that the EDA360 Insider is covering this announcement is because the device is a good example of mixed-signal design. It incorporates a 32-bit microcontroller core, A/D and D/A converters, and on-chip Flash memory. It is also a good example of low-power IC design because of the emphasis on low-power operation: the microcontroller consumes a mere 50µA/MHz running at 3V and 4MHz in very-low-power (VLPR) run mode, which operates the processor core and the on-chip Flash memory but switches off the peripherals.
The other reason for discussing the Kinetis L microcontroller announcement is the associated announcement of the low-cost ($12.95) development platform intended for “quick application prototyping and demonstration” and the associated “Processor Expert” software, a GUI-based tool for generating peripheral start-up code and device drivers. Both of these components of the Freescale Kinetis L announcement fit well within the definition of EDA360 and its apps-driven mantra.
Today’s Freescale announcement of the Kinetis L microcontroller and development tools is here.
Kinetis L data sheets are on the Freescale Web site here.