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Freescale releases first RS08-based 8bit MCU

Posted: 25 May 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale Semiconductor  microcontroller  low-power architecture 

Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt. Ltd has released MC9RS08KA, an ultra-low-end, sub-Rs.22.38 (50-cent) 8bit device, small enough to fit in the head of an electric toothbrush.

This is the first product to be built on the recently announced RS08 core, a simplified version of Freescale's HCS08 that the company categorises as a high-performance, low-power architecture.

The MC9RS08KA family is designed for applications with extreme space and price constraints, and is targeted at traditional electromechanical designs and portable applications ranging from motor control to use-and-discard healthcare products.

The MC9RS08KA microcontroller (MCU) can efficiently power small appliances such as toys, lighting, exercise equipment, watches, calorimeters, security systems, fan and temperature control, and other general-market applications.

"Targeted at the electromechanical or 'mechatronics' market, the tiny KA offers increased design possibilities to India's growing electronics industry," said Sanjeev Keskar, country manager for sales at Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt. Ltd, to EE Times-India. "This microcontroller family addresses the important customer requirements of increased miniaturisation, increased intelligence, and cost-effectiveness in electromechanical applications. Our customers can have a compact embedded control system at a competitive price point."

The 6-pin KA family extends the low end of Freescale's MCU offering. By providing up to 2K flash and 63B RAM, Freescale's KA family offers higher functionality and application options than ultra-low-end, 6-pin devices available in the market today. Additionally, the KA family includes reprogrammable flash across voltage ranges and performs up to 10MHz at 1.8V. The product features a voltage regulator that minimises voltage variation to logic and keeps voltage supply (Vdd) lower, reducing overall power consumption.

"MC9RS08KA has certain important differentiating features from comparable microcontrollers. A key differentiator is the 2K flash ROM in 8-pin or 6-pin package. The microcontroller operates from 1.8V to 5.5V power supply, and it has an analogue comparator with full rail to rail supply operations that can operate in stop mode as well. And, it has 8-bit modular timer with 8-bit prescalar," shared Keskar. "The 2K flash ROM is adequate for low-end and midrange applications, and enables exceptional replacement of simple logic. Earlier, for the same application, if you were using five or 10 discrete and logic ICs, these can be replaced with one intelligent microcontroller. Then, it improves the overall product quality due to the sheer reduction in board components and fewer inter-connects."

The MC9RS08KA family offers a support environment and pin-compatible route into the MC9S08QG, when designers need to add new functionality. Shared peripherals and a common set of development tools help make it easy for engineers to leverage their design investment upstream, the company release stated.

The KA family is supported by the same Freescale development tools that allow designers and programmers using other Freescale 8bit products to work efficiently and economically. CodeWarrior Development Studio for HC(S)08/RS08 MCUs v5.1 is designed to accelerate application development with a built-in project wizard that helps create working projects in as few as seven clicks.

"For the electronics design engineer community, MC9RS08KA's biggest advantage is its backward compatibility with the Freescale HC08 family. Designers will find it particularly easy to carry out development work, either using the CodeWarrior development suite or assembly or C language programming," highlighted Keskar.

Closer to home, there are strong indications of the growing size of the opportunity for MCUs. Earlier this year, the India Semiconductor Association-Frost & Sullivan research on the Indian semiconductor industry forecasted the total market for MCUs to grow from around Rs.1,495 crore ($334 million) in 2005, to Rs.20,138 crore ($4.5 billion) in 2015. And, the total market for 8-bit MCUs, valued at Rs.1,217 crore ($272 million) in 2005, is projected to grow to Rs.16,558 crore ($3.7 billion) by 2015. The ISA-Frost & Sullivan research also estimated that the total available market for embedded electronics in India at around Rs.2,461 crore ($550 million) in 2005, distributed evenly across four verticals - consumer, telecommunications, industrial and automotive.

"In our product portfolio of 8bit MCUs the one missing element was that of a device for the very low-end, low-cost market. With the MC9RS08KA family, Freescale will immediately address applications or products that it was not able to until now, on the price-point of sub-Rs.22.38 (50 cents)," Keskar stated.

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