NUREMBERG, Germany – Future Technology Devices International Ltd. has announced the release of its FT800 chip, at the Embedded World exhibition here. The FT800 is the initial offering in a family of chips that has been labeled EVE for Embedded Video Engine.
The FT800 has been developed to address the need for more sophisticated human-machine interfaces in industrial and consumer goods with display resolutions up to QVGA and WQVGA in an easy-to-use offering with software support.
By combining support for video, audio and touch control in a single IC FTDI (Glasgow, Scotland) aims to simplify architecture, reduce IC count and thereby reduce power consumption and cost.
The FT800’s object-oriented approach renders images line-by-line eliminating the expense of traditional frame buffer memory. It supports four-wire resistive touch sensing with built-in intelligent touch detection and an embedded audio processor allowing midi-like sounds combined with pulse code modulation for audio playback.
The FT800 is designed to work with a microcontroller host but even an 8-bit unit can be used and up to 2,000 objects can be controlled within an 8-kyte display list.
The FT800Q is capable of providing 24-bit color support and comes preloaded with fonts and sounds on its ROM. The chip draws 5-mA typical in active mode and 25-microamps in sleep mode. Ut has a -40 °C to 85 °C operational temperature range and is packaged in a 7-mm by 7-mm x 0.9-mm 48-lead VQFN package.
"With EVE, FTDI Chip is redefining the cost/quality paradigm for GUI development and offering intelligent display solutions with far more competitive price points. The breadth of applications is extremely wide, allowing engineers to cost reduce current displays for point of sale equipment and printers, while enabling colour touch screen functionality to be added to thermostats, power meters, toys and common home appliances," said Fred Dart, CEO and founder of FTDI, in a statement.
Pricing for the FT800 in quantities of 100,000 units is $2.75.
"I still don't think a 32 bit microcontroller is the right processor for these devices."
Why *not* use a 32 bit microcontroller? The driver is usually cost, not capability. As long as it will do the needed job, you use a 16 bit or even 8 bit controller because it's *cheaper*.
What happens if that's *not* the case, and there isn't a significant cost difference in using a 32 bit core?
The ARM Cortex M-0 mentioned elsewhere is arguably overkill for the stated usage, but the ARM architecture is widely deployed and well understood with an existing toolchain to support development and engineers familiar with it.
What you wind up with is capability you won't use, but you don't care because you get the advantages of familiarity and lower time-to-market at a total price that's probably comparable to using a lesser controller.
I suspect it's host controller architecture agnostic. It's a separate component, communicated with by the host controller over a bus. As long as the host can communicate with it and use the functions it provides, you likely don't *care* about host architecture. It could be ARM, x86, MIPS or something else entirely.
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