LONDON A group of Norwegian researchers and executives have formed Energy Micro AS (Oslo), a fabless chip group they suggest is developing the industry's most energy friendly microcontrollers based on powerful microprocessor architectures.
The group is led by Geir Forre, President and CEO of Energy Micro, who was a co-founder and CEO of Chipcon, the low power RF and ZigBee chip specialist that was acquired by Texas Instruments for $200 million in January 2006.
Øyvind Janbu, CTO of Energy Micro, was also an early employee at Chipcon and held several key technical positions within the company.
The plan is to recruit a start-up team of ten people and Forre says the company will be fully operational beginning January 2008.
"We are looking for both technical and commercial managers and talented analog and digital IC designers and will recruit people from relevant Norwegian and international semiconductor companies," said Forre.
He added the combination of extremely low power consumption and high analog and digital integration will make the devices being developed "unique solutions for many applications where battery lifetime, performance and analog integration really matters".
The company did not elaborate on the technical nature of the advances it plans to use, or the "modern architecture" on which the devices would work.
Energy Micro hopes to release the first in its range of EnergetIC microcontrollers in the second quarter 2009.
The line-up will gradually include a broad application range mixed-signal microcontroller family, microcontrollers targeting specific vertical applications with embedded intellectual property. "The specifications for our first series of microcontrollers will be finalized in the first quarter of 2008 and we will sample with the first customers in the second quarter of 2009" said Janbu.
"Energy Micro will provide the industrys most energy friendly high performance microcontrollers and we will have the broadest range of high performance analog and digital peripherals," he added.
The company has already received financial support from Innovation Norway and is seeking additional funds from other Norwegian institutions. The founders and early employees will invest a total of $1.5 million in start-up capital.
"We target to fund the company development ourselves during the first two years of operations. Thereafter we will invite external investors to participate in Energy Micro," said Forre.
He added the ten-year goal is to grab over a 1 percent share in a market that today is worth more than $15 billion and growing at over 5 percent a year.