Embarking on a new era of microcontroller (MCU) leadership, Freescale Semiconductor today announced the Kinetis family of 90 nanometer (nm) 32-bit MCUs based on the new ARM® Cortex-M4 processor. Complementing Freescale’s recently announced 90nm ColdFire+ MCU line, Kinetis represents one of the most scalable portfolios of low power, mixed signal ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based MCUs in the industry.
Over the next 12 months, seven new Kinetis MCU families are expected to be introduced with more than 200 pin-, peripheral- and software-compatible devices, each one featuring the latest in low power innovation and a powerful array of mixed signal capabilities. Designers will be able to combine this with a wide selection of human-machine interface (HMI), connectivity, and safety and security peripherals as well as selecting from multiple performance and memory options.
“By offering ARM® microcontrollers in addition to our existing ColdFire solutions and MCUs built on Power Architecture® technology, Freescale is focused on delivering the ideal hardware and software solution available in the marketplace to our customers – regardless of core architecture preference,” said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Microcontroller Solutions Group. “We are building on our strong existing relationship with ARM by being the first to market with a broad portfolio of MCUs based on ARM’s new Cortex-M4 core.”
“The Kinetis family of MCUs represents an outstanding extension to the solid technology foundation we have built with Freescale over many years,” said Warren East, CEO of ARM. “This announcement is a further demonstration of the growing support for the low power and high performance capabilities of the ARM Cortex-M processors throughout the embedded industry, and we are excited to be a key technology element in what promises to be a broad and innovative product offering for the MCU customer base.”
Kinetis MCUs are built using Freescale’s 90nm Thin Film Storage (TFS) technology with FlexMemory capability – configurable electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). The new MCUs also share the same software enablement and ultra–low power flexibility as ColdFire+ MCUs, making it simple for customers to select the best solution for their end application.
One-Stop-Shop Enablement Offering
Kinetis’ strength and value extend beyond silicon. Each MCU comes with a powerful suite of enablement software including Freescale’s complimentary, full featured MQX™ real time operating system (RTOS) and bundled Eclipse™ based CodeWarrior 10.0 integrated development environment (IDE) with Processor Expert – providing a visual and automated framework to accelerate the development of complex embedded applications. Kinetis MCUs are also supported by the expansive ARM ecosystem including IAR Systems’ Embedded Workbench and Keil’s™ Microcontroller Development Kit IDEs. This combination of Freescale and third party enablement provides a pathway for quick design and reduced implementation headaches.
“We have partnered closely with the Freescale development team to add kernel-aware debugging for Freescale MQX Software solutions into the IAR Toolchain for the Kinetis family,” said Stefan Skarin, CEO of IAR Systems. “The combined software and hardware solution from IAR and Freescale are expected to speed time to market for embedded designers.”
“Freescale and ARM are working together to deliver a Keil development toolkit specifically supporting the Freescale Kinetis family,” said John Cornish, System Design Division executive vice president and general manager, ARM. “The toolkit adds numerous features enabling developers to accelerate DSP and motor control applications by leveraging the unique capabilities of the Kinetis devices.”
The Freescale Tower rapid prototyping system completes the offering by providing nearly unlimited quick prototyping capabilities, eliminating months of development time. This one-stop-shop solution for MCUs, development tools and runtime software delivers outstanding flexibility and value for designers of industrial and consumer end products while drastically reducing development costs and time-to-market.
One MCU portfolio, seven families, hundreds of end products
Kinetis MCUs offer unparalleled scalability, compatibility and feature integration. Common peripherals, memory maps and packages allow for easy migration both within and between MCU families, providing quick paths for end product line expansion or cost reduction in response to market demand.
The families include a rich suite of analog, communication and timing and control peripherals with the level of feature integration increasing with flash memory size and the number of inputs/outputs. Features common to all Kinetis families include:
- High-speed 16-bit analog to digital converters
- 12-bit digital to analog converters with on-chip analog voltage reference
- Multiple high speed comparators and programmable gain amplifiers
- Low power touch sensing with device wake-up on touch from reduced power states
- Multiple serial interfaces including UARTs with ISO7816 support and Inter-IC Sound
- Powerful, flexible timers for a broad range of applications including motor control
- Off-chip system expansion and data storage options via SD host, NAND flash, and DRAM controllers and Freescale’s FlexBus interconnect scheme
The first five Kinetis families build upon this strong foundation by adding further HMI, connectivity and safety and security capabilities. The result is a comprehensive product portfolio that satisfies a broad range of application requirements from low power remote sensing to industrial automation and control:
- K10 Family – features performance options from 50 MHz to 150 MHz and 32 kilobyte to one megabyte of flash memory with high RAM-to-flash ratios throughout. It will be available in ultra small-footprint 5mm x 5mm QFN packages for the smallest low power designs. The K20, K30 and K40 families are fully compatible with the K10 family.
- K20 Family – adds USB 2.0 device/host/On-The-Go (full and high speed). USB device charger detect (DCD) capability optimizes charging current/time, enabling longer battery life in portable USB products.
- K30 Family – adds a flexible LCD controller supporting up to 320 segments. Low power blink mode and segment fail detect provide reduced power operation and increased display integrity in LCD-enabled products.
- K40 Family – combines USB and segment LCD functionality for products that require flexible connectivity with a graphical user interface.
- K60 Family – includes a set of highly integrated MCUs with up to 180 MHz performance and IEEE 1588 Ethernet MAC for precise, real-time control in industrial automation environments. Hardware encryption supports multiple algorithms, providing fast, secure data transfer and storage with only minimal CPU loading. The system security module includes secure key storage and hardware tamper detection with sensors for voltage, frequency, temperature and external sensing for physical attack detection.
Low power innovation and fast, high endurance EEPROM
Low power permeates every aspect of Kinetis MCU design. All Kinetis devices support full memory (flash/RAM/EEPROM) and analog peripheral operation down to 1.71V, which translates to extended battery life for portable designs. A total of 10 low power operating modes are available, allowing designers to optimize peripheral activity and recovery times. A low power real time clock, low leakage wake up unit and low power timer add further flexibility for Freescale customers, enabling continual system operation in reduced power states. With extremely low stop and run currents, Kinetis MCUs satisfy even the most aggressive power budgets.
Freescale’s FlexMemory sets new standards for embedded memory and can be easily configured by the user as high endurance (up to 10 million write/erase cycles) byte writeable/erasable EEPROM with write times as low as 100 nanoseconds and/or additional flash memory. FlexMemory offers reduced system costs vs. external EEPROM solutions and eliminates the software complexity and CPU/flash/RAM resource impact encountered with EEPROM emulation schemes.
The first five general-purpose Kinetis MCU families are expected to sample in the second half of 2010 with production planned for early 2011. Additional families with application-focused peripheral sets are currently in design and are expected to be available throughout 2011.