BOSTON -- Leave it to a company like Energy Micro (Oslo, Norway) to just add 100, yes one hundred, microcontrollers to its portfolio in one swoop, as it did at last week's Embedded Systems Conference here.
No wonder their webiste lists Øyvind Grotmol as the company's VP of Simplicity, in "charge of the development of easy-to-use software and hardware tools". Energy Micro keeps it simple and abundant with its wares, apparently.
At ESC Boston, the company’s president and founder Geir Førre claimed to EE Times that the 100 new parts added to the 80 already in the portfolio will push Energy Micro to become profitable by end of 2012. “We are addressing the market known as ‘the Internet of things’ and our goal is to have $1 billion in revenue by 2020.“
Førre plans to do so by dramatically increasing the number of customers for what he labels 'energy-friendly' microcontrollers and radios: "In June last year we had 10 customers, today we have 250, and we will have 1000 customers by the end of next year," asserted Førre.
Førre founded the company in 2007 after being a co-founder of Chipcon, which he led from a design house to a market leader in low-power RF solutions a decade later. Chipcon was acquired by Texas Instruments in January 2006 for $200 million.
His second startup he hopes to make even more successful, after which he intends to address the third part of his career,-- to serve--, taken from the adage: "to learn, to work, and to serve." "Making Energy Micro successful is my immediate goal," said Førre, "and we expect to do that by making things for our customers they did not know they needed, but are glad to have."
Besides the 100 new microcontrollers and Simplicity Studio design support platform, Energy Micro is in the process of offering what they call "energy-friendly" radios with a complete family of EFR products planned for launch early 2012.
These products will be a range of low-power RF transceiver products covering multiple frequency bands and supporting both standard and proprietary wireless protocols and a maximum data rate of 4 Mb/s.
Earlier this year at Embedded World 2011, a European conference, Energy Micro announced advance details of the EFR product family: "Complementing the company’s EFM32 Gecko microcontrollers, EFR4D Draco high performance radio solutions will consume only 25 percent of the energy of competing products," was the March 2011 claim.
Draco SoC radios will achieve receive and transmit current consumption as low as 5mA and 6mA respectively and are based on an ARM Cortex-M0 core. Sample parts may be obtained during Q4’2011 with pricing start at $1.10 each in 100k quantities.
Førre at the time of that announcement in part said: "We have already proven, with our Gecko product family, that we can create the world’s most energy friendly microcontrollers, so it makes perfect sense that we also now turn our attention to creating the world’s most energy friendly radio transceivers and SoCs. Draco will combine a state-of-the art RF transceiver with a technology-leading microcontroller to help designers achieve a 4 times longer battery life.”
At ESC Boston, Førre explained his admiration of lizards, as the company has named its family of parts -- Gecko, Draco: "Lizards are reptiles which consume very low energy but strike at a moment's notice when hunting. Most appropriate for our energy-friendly parts, don't you think?"
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.