LONDON Freescale Semiconductor has started sampling a range of microcontrollers that it says will allow designers to upgrade easily from 8-bit to 32-bit capability with the same on-chip peripheral functions and tool sets.
Dubbed the Flexis range, the pin-, peripheral- and tool-compatible 8- and 32-bit MCUs deliver on the promise the company made at least year's Freescale Technology Forum when it introduced the 68K/Coldfire V1 core.
At this week's event, in Orlando, Florida, "we can reveal we have started sampling the first silicon based on this core and that several beta customers are already designing in the part," Jim Stuart, EMEA microcontrollers marketing manager at Freescale told EE Times Europe.
Manufacturing samples are planned to be available in November of this year.
Stuart would not identify any of these early customers, but suggested the first products using the devices would be in the area of hand-held medical systems.
The MC9S08QE128 based on the S08 core, and MCF51QE128, the first device based on the ColdFire V1 core, are said to be the industry’s first 8- and 32-bit MCUs with pin-for-pin compatibility and a common set of on-chip peripherals and development tools.
Stuart suggests the Flexis series breaks the traditional bit boundaries in the industry and would allow developers to migrate between low-end and high-performance embedded designs with exceptional ease, speed, cost-effectiveness and ultra-low-power operating efficiency.
The initial devices are targeted at consumer and industrial applications, including health care instrumentation and monitoring, factory automation, point-of-sale equipment, fire and security systems, HVAC and building control, metering and consumer appliances.
The compatible architectures and tools make it easy to expand into new embedded markets without having to invest heavily in software rewrites and conversion to a new architecture, adds Stuart.
The MC9S08QE128 and MCF51QE128 can run off of an external 32-kilohertz oscillator that consumes less than 1 micro A of current. The Flexis QE devices also have an internal voltage regulator, which helps enable fast wake up from stop modes with a typical wake-up time of 6 microseconds.
Stop modes for the Flexis QE128 devices are extremely low power, offering 370 nA of current in the lowest power stop mode. Clock gating also can be used to disable clocks to unused modules, further reducing run-mode power consumption by as much as 33 percent.