Tuesday, March 13, 2012
New Cortex-M0+ Processor Targets Low-Cost MCU, Sensor
and Control Markets
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ARM today announced the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor,
describing it as the world's most energy-efficient
microprocessor designed for ultra low-power, low-cost
MCUs for intelligent sensors and smart control systems.
Applications include home appliances, white goods,
medical monitoring, metering, lighting and power and
motor control devices.
The 32-bit Cortex-M0+ processor consumes just 9?A/MHz on
a 90nm LP process, around one third of the energy of any
8- or 16-bit processor available today, while delivering
The Cortex-M0+ processor features enable the creation of
smart, low-power, microcontrollers to provide
communication, management and maintenance across a
multitude of wirelessly connected devices, a concept
known as the 'Internet of Things'.
This low power connectivity has the potential to enable a
range of energy-saving and life-enhancing applications
from sensors to wirelessly analyze the performance and
control of domestic or industrial buildings, to
battery-operated body sensors wirelessly connected to
health monitoring equipment. Current 8-bit and 16-bit
MCUs lack the intelligence and functionality to deliver
"The Internet of Things will change the world as we know
it, improving energy efficiency, safety, and
convenience," said Tom R. Halfhill, a senior analyst with
The Linley Group and senior editor of Microprocessor
Report. "Ubiquitous network connectivity is useful for
almost everything - from adaptive room lighting and
online video gaming to smart sensors and motor control.
But it requires extremely low-cost, low-power processors
that still can deliver good performance. The ARM
Cortex-M0+ processor brings 32-bit horsepower to
flyweight chips, and it will be suitable for a broad
range of industrial and consumer applications."
The new processor builds on the low-power Cortex-M0
processor which has been licensed more than 50 times by
silicon vendors, and has been redesigned from the ground
up to add a number of new features. These include
single-cycle IO to speed access to GPIO and peripherals,
improved debug and trace capability and a 2-stage
pipeline to reduce the number of cycles per instruction
(CPI) and improve Flash accesses, further reducing power
The Cortex-M0+ processor takes advantage of the same C
programmer's model, and is binary compatible with
existing Cortex-M0 processor tools and RTOS. Along with
all Cortex-M series processors it enjoys full support
from the ARM Cortex-M ecosystem and software
compatibility enables simple migration to the
higher-performance Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors.
Early licensees of the Cortex-M0+ processor include
Freescale and NXP Semiconductor.
The Cortex-M0+ processor is supported from launch by the
ARM Keil Microcontroller Development Kit, which
integrates the ARM compilation tools with the Keil
?Vision IDE and debugger. MDK together with the ULINK
family of debug adapters now supports the new trace
features available in the Cortex-M0+ processor.
The processor is also supported by third-party tool and
RTOS vendors including CodeSourcery, Code Red, Express
Logic, IAR Systems, Mentor Graphics, Micrium and SEGGER.