Freescale first with low cost ARM M0+ microcontrollers to push 8bit to 32bit transition

March 13, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Freescale is aiming to be the first to ship the latest generation of ARM's 32bit Cortex-M0+ low cost, low power microcontrollers ahead of Energy Micro and NXP Semiconductors pushing the transtion from 8 and 16bit devices.

It has already taped out devices for its KL1 and KL2 families that are pin compatible with its K10 and K20 family of Cortex-M4-based microcontrollers and expects to ship these to early customers next quarter and in volume production in September in the 50cent to $1.50 range.
To accelerate the move from 8 and 16bit it has also developed a family that is pin compatible with its SO8 8bit family with 16 to 48 pins so that existing customers can move easily to the new core. The KL family will be sampling towards the end of 2012 with volume in the middle of 2013 at 30 to 60cents.
“We’re excited to further strengthen our relationship with ARM as a lead partner in the definition, and first licensee of the smallest, lowest-power ARM Cortex-M series processor yet,” said Dr Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Automotive, Industrial & Multi-Market Solutions group. “The addition of products built on the Cortex M0+ processor will make our fast-growing Kinetis MCU line one of the industry’s most scalable portfolios based on the ARM Cortex architecture. With the ability to reuse code, higher performance and improved energy efficiency, the Cortex M0+ processor will enable designers to transition from legacy 8-bit and 16-bit proprietary architectures to our new Kinetis devices, without sacrificing cost and ease of use benefits.”
Freescale did not license the original M0 but now sees the M0+ as an appropriate core with the re-design of the core to two stages, single cycle I/O and better interface to flash memory to keep the power consumption down.
Versions for the K30 and K40 based around the higher performance Cortex-M4F DSP core will follow next year.
NXP is also a licensee of the M0 and is planning devices using the M0+, while Energy Micro in Norway is also planning to use the M0+ core for its Zero Gecko family of 16 microcontrollers due