March 13, 2012 -- Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. announced today that it will demonstrate its new Kinetis L series microcontrollers (MCUs) built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor at Design West in San Jose, Calif., March 26-29.
Freescale's early demonstration of Kinetis L series devices is possible due to the close partnership between Freescale and ARM during the Cortex-M0+ core development process. Freescale was a lead partner, providing input that helped ARM define and develop the world's most energy-efficient processor, designed to satisfy the rigorous energy-efficiency, cost-sensitivity and ease-of-use requirements of entry-level applications such as domestic appliances, portable medical systems, smart meters, lighting, power and motor control systems.
Freescale provided valuable insights during the definition and validation of the new processor, particularly in the areas of I/O handing and debug support. This close collaboration resulted in the L series — an entry-level MCU family that combines exceptional energy-efficiency and ease-of-use with the performance, peripheral sets, enablement and scalability of the Kinetis 32-bit MCU portfolio while leveraging the inherent low-power and high-performance features of the ARM Cortex architecture.
"Freescale was the first supplier to bring Cortex-M4 processor-based MCUs to the mass market, and they are again taking a lead role with an ARM processor; in this case, the Cortex-M0+ processor," said Mike Inglis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of ARM's Processor Division. "With the addition of the L series to its Kinetis line, Freescale is creating one of the industry's broadest, most-scalable ARM Cortex-M MCU portfolios, ranging from very low-cost, entry-level products based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, up to 4-MByte, 200- MHz devices based on the Cortex-M4 processor."
Kinetis L series MCUs
Manufactured using Freescale's low-leakage, 90-nm thin film storage (TFS) process technology, the Kinetis L series frees power-critical designs from 8- and 16-bit MCU limitations by combining excellent dynamic and stop currents with superior processing performance. A broad selection of on-chip Flash memory densities and extensive analog, connectivity and HMI peripheral options enable increased intelligence for a range of applications.
The Kinetis L series also addresses the ease-of-use requirement critical for entry-level designs that is frequently a barrier to developers considering 32-bit solutions. Features within the MCU and in the accompanying enablement package will provide an easy look and feel, enabling quick access to new device capabilities. This will let developers leverage the full power of Kinetis L series MCUs, while maintaining the rapid development cycles common to entry-level designs.
Upward migration through the Kinetis portfolio is available via compatible Kinetis K series devices (built on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor) that provide access to DSP performance and advanced feature integration.
About the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor
The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor evolves the previous-generation Cortex-M0 into a true 8-bit replacement, while maintaining compatibility with all other Cortex-M-class processors. This lets designers reuse their existing compilers and debug tools. Enhancements to the new ARM Cortex-M0+ processor include:
- A reduced two-stage pipeline, allowing faster branch instruction execution.
- Single-cycle access to I/O and critical peripherals.
- Optimized access to program memory.
- Linear 4-GByte address space that removes the need for paging, reducing software complexity and ensuring a more 8-bit-like user experience.
- Micro-trace buffer, providing a low-cost trace solution that allows faster bug identification and correction without the need for additional I/O resources.
As entry-level applications migrate from 8- and 16-bit to Kinetis 32-bit MCU solutions, the need for tightly integrated enablement resources is essential to fully leverage the new system resources. The Kinetis L series will benefit from a comprehensive enablement package standard for Kinetis devices, consisting of the Freescale CodeWarrior IDE, MQX RTOS and associated middleware, as well as support from the extensive ARM ecosystem.
Alpha sampling of Kinetis L series devices will begin in the second quarter of 2012.
Go to the Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. website to find additional information.