March 13, 2012 -- ARM today announced the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, which ARM boasts as the world's most energy-efficient microprocessor. The Cortex-M0+ processor has been optimized to deliver ultra-low-power, low-cost MCUs for intelligent sensors and smart control systems in a broad range of applications including home appliances, white goods, medical monitoring, metering, lighting and power and motor control devices.
The 32-bit Cortex-M0+ processor, the latest addition to the ARM Cortex processor family, consumes just 9µA/MHz on a low-cost 90-nm LP process, around one-third of the energy of any 8- or 16-bit processor available today, while delivering significantly higher performance.
This combination of low power and high performance provides users of legacy 8- and 16-bit architectures with an ideal opportunity to migrate to 32-bit devices, delivering increased intelligence to everyday devices, without sacrificing power consumption or area.
The Cortex-M0+ processor features enable the creation of smart, low-power, microcontrollers to provide efficient communication, management and maintenance across a multitude of wirelessly connected devices, a concept known as the "Internet of Things."
"The Internet of Things will change the world as we know it, improving energy efficiency, safety, and convenience," said Tom R. Halfhill, a senior analyst with The Linley Group and Senior Editor of Microprocessor Report. "Ubiquitous network connectivity is useful for almost everything, from adaptive room lighting and online video gaming to smart sensors and motor control. But it requires extremely low-cost, low-power processors that still can deliver good performance. The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor brings 32-bit horsepower to flyweight chips, and it will be suitable for a broad range of industrial and consumer applications."
A Cortex-M0 foundation
The new processor builds on the low-power and silicon-proven Cortex-M0 processor which has been licensed more than 50 times by leading silicon vendors, and has been re-designed from the ground up to add a number of significant new features. These include single-cycle I/O to speed access to GPIO and peripherals, improved debug and trace capability and a 2-stage pipeline to reduce the number of cycles per instruction (CPI) and improve Flash accesses, further reducing power consumption.
The Cortex-M0+ processor takes advantage of the same C-friendly programmer's model, and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M0 processor tools and RTOS. Along with all Cortex-M series processors it enjoys full support from the ARM Cortex-M ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration to the higher-performance Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors.
Early licensees of the Cortex-M0+ processor include Freescale and NXP Semiconductor.
Supporting ARM technology
The Cortex-M0+ processor is ideally suited for implementation with the Artisan 7-track SC7 Ultra High Density Standard Cell Library and Power Management Kit (PMK) to fully capitalize on the low-power features of the processor.
The Cortex-M0+ processor is fully supported from launch by the ARM Keil Microcontroller Development Kit, which integrates the ARM compilation tools with the Keil µVision IDE and debugger. MDK together with the ULINK family of debug adapters now supports the new trace features available in the Cortex-M0+ processor. By utilizing these tools, ARM Partners can take advantage of a tightly coupled application development environment to rapidly realize the performance and ultra- low-power features of the Cortex-M0+ processor.
The processor is also supported by third-party tool and RTOS vendors including CodeSourcery, Code Red, Express Logic, IAR Systems, Mentor Graphics, Micrium and SEGGER.
Go to the ARM website to find additional information.