NXP focuses Cortex-M0 32-bit microcontrollers straight into the 8-bit space

November 16, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
In this news analysis article EE Times Europe Analog's editor, Paul Buckley questions Jan Jaap Bezemer, NXP Semiconductors' director of marketing, microcontroller product line, as to the reasons for NXP Semiconductors unveiling a series of new low-pin-count package options for the company's market-leading ARM Cortex-M0 LPC1100 family of microcontrollers. 

Last month NXP revealed the company is aiming to open the door for a broader range of applications previously closed to typical 32-bit MCUs due to package footprint or manufacturing constraints.  The new LPC111x devices, which feature SO20, TSSOP20, TSSOP28 and DIP28 options, claim to be the world's first 32-bit ARM microcontrollers in low-pin-count packages.     

Starting at $0.49, NXP's low-pin-count devices claim to deliver 50 MIPS of performance compared to the 1 to 5 MIPS performance typical of 8/16-bit MCUs, at a highly competitive price point enabled by NXP's exceptional capacity in manufacturing high-volume commodity packages.     

Target applications include human interface devices (HID), consumer electronics, alarm systems, small appliances and simple motor control, among many others.     

eeNews Europe:  What is the significance of producing the ARM Cortex-M0 LPC1100 family of microcontrollers in low-pin-count package options?  

Bezemer: With this introduction we are showing a commitment to drive Cortex-M0 32-bit microcontrollers straight into the 8-bit space. We have been looking to take away the boundaries one by one of traditional 8-bit users to enable them to adopt and embrace 32-bit Cortex solutions. 

These boundaries really lie in three areas.  One is cost, one is power and one is simplicity.  With this announcement we have made tremendous progress on the cost side.  We already had the world's lowest cost 32-bit microcontroller at 65 cents.  But now by introducing SO,TSSOP and DIP packages we can tap into the company's biggest capacity bracket for high volume, low-pin-count commodity packaging.  That has helped us to further reduce our price points of our 32-bit Cortex-M0 microcontrollers in the market.

Power consumption is very important.  We have been able to achieve over the past few years tremendous improvements in power consumption.  Our current Cortex-M0 microcontrollers are best-in-class when it comes to dynamic power.    Current products run at 130 μA/MHz which really makes them suitable for low-power applications and that is typically what 8- to