LONDON – Fabless microcontroller company Energy Micro AS (Oslo, Norway) is now set to introduce its overdue line of radio-enabled microcontrollers in the fourth quarter of 2013.
This will be more than two years since the Draco product line was first announced. The EFR4D 'Draco' radio product family was originally announced on March 2, 2011 at the Embedded World exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany with the claim that parts, including a Cortex-M0 based system-chip, would sample in the fourth quarter of 2011.
At the 2013 Embedded World exhibition Alf-Egil Bogen, recently announced as chief marketing officer of Energy Micro, said the company would be introducing Draco in October 2013. The company's website states that first kits and samples for EFR [Energy-friendly radio] devices are planned for launch in 3Q13.
No reason was given for the delay in the introduction but Bogen confirmed that Energy Micro would be producing a monolithically integrated MCU based on Cortex-M3 plus multimode ultra-low power radio transceiver. The radio will include 802.15.4g and Bluetooth Low Energy, as well as being suitable for ZigBee, 6LowPAN and RF4CE at carrier frequencies up 2.4-GHz. Bogen declined to indicate what manufacturing process technology the design is designed to use or whether there had been a change from a previously attempted implementation. The radio does not cover Wi-Fi which is in a different class in terms of energy consumption, Bogen said.
When asked if a multiple die approach that allowed mixing and matching of processes – something adopted by other companies – was not better, Bogen responded: "That's what people say who can't make it on one die."
It appears that Bogen has, in part, been brought in to Energy Micro to usher the radio project through to completion. In a statement issued by Energy Micro to announced Bogen's appointment as CMO, he said: "I have a strong passion for microcontrollers and radios." He also said: "With Energy Micro's extreme low power EFM32 Cortex-M devices and forthcoming ARM radio transceivers I saw an opportunity to use all my experience to ensure the company becomes truly customer-oriented in providing the products, tools, training and support that developers both need and deserve."
In an interview with EE Times at Embedded World Bogen said: "Microcontrollers are becoming about much more than the core, memory and peripherals. Engineers are looking more for systems solutions and because they have less resources [than previously] they must be ready to go." He said engineers want the micro, the radio, software, firmware and good tools.
Not sure. But when Energy Micro was originally aiming to have parts out in 4Q11 the company said the first transceiver only and SoC products would price at $1.10 each in 100,000 unit quantities.