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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Freescale Debuts ARM-based Kinetis L Series Microcontrollers

Freescale is now offering alpha samples of its Kinetis L series, the first microcontrollers (MCUs) built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor.

With the Kinetis L series, Freescale provides an opportunity for users of legacy 8- and 16-bit architectures to migrate to 32-bit platforms and bring additional intelligence to everyday devices without increasing power consumption and cost or sacrificing space. Applications, such as small appliances, gaming accessories, portable medical systems, audio systems, smart meters, lighting and power control, can now leverage 32-bit capabilities and the scalability needed to expand future product lines ? all at 8- and 16-bit price and power consumption levels.

Freescale claims that the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor consumes approximately one-third of the energy of any 8- or 16-bit processor available today, while delivering between two to 40 times more performance. The Kinetis L series supplements the energy efficiency of the core with the latest in low-power MCU platform design, operating modes and energy-saving peripherals. The result is an MCU that consumes just 50 uA/MHz in very-low-power run (VLPR) mode and can rapidly wake from a reduced power state, process data and return to sleep, extending application battery life.

Kinetis L series peripherals do more with less power by maintaining functionality even when the MCU is in deep sleep modes. In traditional MCUs, the main clock and processor core must be activated to perform even trivial tasks such as sending or receiving data, capturing or generating waveforms or sampling analog signals. Kinetis L series peripherals are able to perform these functions without involving the core or main system, reducing power consumption and improving battery life.

Built using Freescale?s flash memory technology, the Kinetis L series offers the industry?s lowest-power flash memory implementation. This improves upon the conventional silicon-based charge storage approach by creating nano-scale silicon islands to store charge instead of using continuous film, improving the flash memory?s immunity to typical sources of data loss.

Freescale is offering developers the Freescale Freedom development platform, a small, low-power evaluation and development system for quick application prototyping and demonstration. It combines an industry-standard form factor with a set of third-party expansion board options. An integrated USB debug interface offers a mass-storage device mode flash programmer, a virtual serial port and classic programming and run-control capabilities.

In addition, the Processor Expert software, a GUI-based, device-aware software generation tool, eliminates the need to write peripheral start-up code or device drivers. Helps developers easily migrate from 8- and 16-bit to 32-bit solutions by simplifying the software architecture and reducing application development time.

The Kinetis MCU Solution Advisor is also a web-based application with an interactive MCU product selector that helps identify the best-suited MCU by applying dynamic filters based on operating characteristics, packaging options, memory configuration and peripheral hardware library.

Each Kinetis L series family includes scalable flash memory options, pin-counts and analog, communication, timing and control peripherals, providing easy migration paths for end product line expansion.

Features common to the Kinetis L series families include:

- 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ core
- High-speed 12/16-bit analog-to-digital converters
- 12-bit digital-to-analog converters
- High-speed analog comparators
- Low-power touch sensing with wake-up on touch from reduced power states
- Powerful timers for a broad range of applications including motor control

The first three Kinetis L series families:

- Kinetis L0 family - the entry point into the Kinetis L series. Includes eight to 32 KB of flash memory and ultra-small 4mm x 4mm QFN packages. Pin-compatible with the Freescale 8-bit S08P family. Software- and tool-compatible with all other Kinetis L series families.

- Kinetis L1 family - with 32 to 256 KB of flash memory and additional communications and analog peripheral options. Compatible with the Kinetis K10 family.

- Kinetis L2 family - adds USB 2.0 full-speed host/device/OTG. Compatible with the Kinetis K20 family.

The Kinetis L series is pin- and software-compatible with the Kinetis K series (built on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor).

Kinetis L series alpha samples are available now, with broad market sample and tool availability planned for Q3. Pricing starts at a suggested resale price of 49 cents (USD) in 10,000-unit quantities. The Freescale Freedom development platform is planned for Q3 availability at a suggested resale price of $12.95 (USD).

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