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  • Regina Cirmonova

Freescale unveils microcontroller roadmap, blurring traditional bit boundaries

Controller continuum will link 32-bit performance with 8-bit ease of use

(PresseBox) (AUSTIN, Texas, ) Embedded electronics are evolving at an unprecedented pace, with increased demand for performance and functionality pushing designs up the microcontroller food chain. Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL, FSL.B) today outlines a microcontroller roadmap featuring pin-for-pin compatible 8-bit and 32-bit devices that will share peripherals and a common set of development tools.

Freescale plans expansion at the low and high ends of its 8-bit portfolio. The company will introduce lower-cost, streamlined products for new entrants into the microcontroller arena and enhanced peripherals and expanded memory options for those 8-bit veterans who need more functionality on the higher end. Freescale's RS08 core announced today (See Freescale announces ultra-low-end core for new entrants to 8-bit, March 13, 2006), is the starting point of this roadmap, providing the flexibility and value at price points below 50 cents (USD).

"Freescale is definitely on the right track to offer a wide range of price and performance options," said Tony Massimini, chief of technology, Semico Research. "The MCU company that is able to provide the easiest transition to higher performance will be extremely attractive to companies chasing revenue with new product spins."

In the 32-bit space, Freescale plans to continue to reduce end-user cost in its ColdFire® families, bringing 32-bit performance well within lower architecture price points. By the end of 2006, Freescale plans to roll out pin-for-pin compatible devices that will allow 8-bit designs to easily upgrade to 32-bit performance while maintaining the same peripheral interfaces.

"We expect the Freescale products announced this year to be the start of a new breed of microcontroller products," said Paul Grimme, senior vice president and general manager, Freescale's Transportation and Standard Products Group. "We are seeing the number of bits become irrelevant as designers select from a controller performance continuum with a peripheral portfolio that scales to the application."

As microcontroller-based applications require more connectivity and functionality, designers are facing pressures to increase performance while reducing cycle time. Development tools and software will be the deciding factor when selecting silicon. Freescale plans continued enhancements to its award-winning CodeWarrior(tm) Development Studio with automatic code generation, which enables first-time users to create working projects in as few as seven clicks. Freescale is also defining a unified hardware development platform that provides common board and cable interfaces and gives designers a consistent experience across architectures.

For more information about Freescale's Controller Continuum, go to http://www.freescale.com/files/pr/continuum.

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