PORTLAND, Ore. —Freescale Semiconductor Inc. Tuesday (June 22) introduced a new
ARM-based microcontroller family, Kinetis, expanding its push into consumer and
industrial markets with a 32-bit reduced instruction set computer architecture
licensed from ARM Holdings plc.
Freescale (Austin, Texas) already has
32-bit microcontrollers using the Power instruction set architecture (ISA)
developed with IBM, plus its own low-cost ColdFire+ microcontrollers. The new
microcontroller line is intended to serve original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs) standardizing on ARM cores across their applications.
"We already had experience with ARM cores for our i.MX multimedia
applications processors based on ARM9, ARM11 and ARM Cortex-A8," said Jeff Bock,
director of marketing for industrial and multi-market microcontrollers at
"Our new Kinetis microcontrollers, however, will be the industry's first to
use the new arm cortex-m4. And we did not just swap-in the cotex-m4 either, but
added some Freescale secret sauce," Bock said. "Key additions include
instruction and data caches that enhance performance, a special watchdog timer
that enhances power management, plus a crossbar switch that allows multiple
masters to communicate with multiple slaves simultaneously, such as the core
reading data out of flash while the system SRAM is bringing DMA information in
from the Ethernet port."
Kinetis devices are built using 90-nanometer thin-film storage technology
with FlexMemory that can be configured by designers either as EEPROM or
additional data or program memory. The Kinetis family includes all the
mixed-signal, display and touch panel interface options as Freescale’s ColdFire+
microcontrollers, but with additional capabilities for efficient motor control
and with support for audio and video processing tasks.
Selected models also support USB on-the-go, time-stamped Ethernet (IEEE
1588), floating-point math acceleration, hardware tamper detection, segment or
graphical LCD control and DRAM control for extending main memory, Freescale