SAN ANTONIO—Freescale Semiconductor Inc. is sampling the industry's first microcontroller to use ARM's ultra-low-power Cortex-M0+ processor, which aims to convert 8- and 16-bit applications to 32-bit status by offering one-third the energy consumption of 8-bit processors while delivering twice the performance of a 16-bit processor.
"The plus of our new Cortex M0+ is really a minus as far as power is concerned," said Warren East, ARM's chief executive officer. "We worked with Freescale to design a core that could extend the battery life of mobile applications the way an 8-bit microcontroller does, but while delivering the 32-bit performance people expect from ARM."
NXP is also a licensee for the Cortex-M0+ announced in March, but Freescale claims its Kinetis L series is sampling first, making it the "world’s most energy-efficient microcontroller," according to Freescale CEO Gregg Lowe, who will demonstrate it Tuesday (June 19) during his keynote presentation at the annual Freescale Technology Forum here.
Designed for machine-to-machine "Internet of things" applications, the Kinetis L series now offers power consumption as low as 50 microAmps per megahertz, enabling even very small batteries to last for months or years when combined with intelligent power management functions.
The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor includes a variety of bells and whistles in addition to the industries lowest power consumption for a 32-bit processor.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.