PORTLAND, Ore.—Freescale Semiconductor has capitalized on its unique thin-film storage (TFS) technology for the 90-nanometer node, scaling down its ColdFire processors to the 90-nm node, also—over a four-fold shrink to just five millimeters square for under a dollar.
The new ColdFire+ family includes 40 new 32-bit MCUs with ultra-low power requirements for long battery life, integrated analog converters, touch pad sensing, display support, cyber security accelerators and TFS that can be configured as either flash or EEPROM.
"The unique capabilities that ColdFire+ brings to the industry for the first time include our thin-film storage technology we call FlexMemory, because it can be configured as either a large flash or a small EEPROM," said Jeff Bock, director of marketing at Freescale. "No other memory technology can be configured as either EEPROM or flash by the OEM—for instance, the base model 99 cent V1 ColdFire+ processor has FlexMemory that can be configured as a 2kbyte EEPROM or a 32kbyte flash, or some combination of the two like 1kbytes EEPROM and 16kbytes flash."
FlexMemory is nonvolatile storage based on Freescale's nanocrystalline thin-film floating gate memory cells that enable write speeds as fast as 100 microseconds and up to 4.4 million write/erase cycles over the full voltage range of 1.71-to-3.6 volts.
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Freescale also claims its power consumption is the lowest in the industry at 150 microAmps per MHz, with stop currents under 500 nanoamps and wake-up times under four microseconds from 10 different low-power modes. When the touchpad sensing capability is used, the ColdFire+ processors can be awakened with a touch even from the lowest power modes in just four microseconds, which appears instantaneous to mobile device users yet extends battery life.
Other special features include a cryptographic acceleration unit and associated random number generator aimed at secure communications and authentication services even for small-footprint applications, such as wireless sensor networks.
The entire ColdFire+ mixed-signal microcontroller line works with the free Freescale MQX realtime operating system (RTOS) for embedded applications as well as its Eclipse-based CodeWarrier development suite and the modular board-level Tower Rapid Prototyping System.
MQX offers software stacks for USB audio, medical sensors, mass storage, human interfaces, hub- and device-class operations with integrated RTOS kernel awareness for easier debugging with CodeWarrior Development Studio. Third party software support for the new ColdFire+ line has also been announced by Green Hills and IAR.
The first of the ColdFire+ MCUs will sample in the 2Q10 with volume production planned for the middle of 2011.