Components | April 18, 2012

Freescale markets Kinetis L series

Freescale markets its new Kinetis L series microcontrollers (MCUs) build on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor. Alpha sampling is to follow in 2Q.
“Our close partnership with ARM throughout the design and development of their new core has positioned us as the first MCU supplier to produce and demonstrate an MCU based on the Cortex-M0+ and continues our strategy of driving to market new products based on the ARM architecture,” said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Automotive, Industrial and Multi-Market Solutions Group. “Our new Kinetis L series MCUs will significantly expand the design options available for creating the next generation of smarter, smaller, more energy-efficient embedded applications.”

“Freescale was the first supplier to bring Cortex-M4 processor-based MCUs to the mass market, and they are again taking a lead role with an ARM processor – in this case the Cortex-M0+ processor,” said Mike Inglis, executive vice president and general manager of ARM’s Processor Division. “With the addition of the L series to their Kinetis line, Freescale is creating one of the industry’s broadest, most scalable ARM Cortex-M MCU portfolios, ranging from very low-cost, entry-level products based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, up to 4 MB, 200 MHz devices based on the Cortex-M4 processor.”

Kinetis L series MCUs

Manufactured using Freescale’s low-leakage, 90 nm thin film storage (TFS) process technology, the Kinetis L series frees power-critical designs from 8- and 16-bit MCU limitations by combining excellent dynamic and stop currents with superior processing performance. A broad selection of on-chip flash memory densities and extensive analog, connectivity and HMI peripheral options enable increased intelligence for a range of applications.

The Kinetis L series also addresses the ease-of-use requirement critical for entry-level designs that is frequently a barrier to developers considering 32-bit solutions. Features within the MCU and in the accompanying enablement package will provide an easy look and feel, enabling quick access to new device capabilities. This will allow developers to leverage the full power of Kinetis L series MCUs, while maintaining the rapid development cycles common to entry-level designs.

Upward migration through the Kinetis portfolio is available via compatible Kinetis K series devices (built on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor) that provide access to DSP performance and advanced feature integration.

ARM Cortex-M0+ processor

The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor evolves the previous-generation Cortex-M0 into a true 8-bit replacement, while maintaining compatibility with all other Cortex-M-class processors. This allows designers to reuse their existing compilers and debug tools.

Enhancements to the new ARM Cortex-M0+ processor include:

- A reduced two-stage pipeline, allowing faster branch instruction execution
- Single-cycle access to I/O and critical peripherals
- Optimized access to program memory
- Linear 4 GB address space that removes the need for paging, reducing software complexity and ensuring a more 8-bit-like user experience
- Micro trace buffer, providing a low-cost trace solution that allows faster bug identification and correction without the need for additional I/O resources.

Comprehensive enablement

As entry-level applications migrate from 8- and 16-bit to Kinetis 32-bit MCU solutions, the need for tightly integrated enablement resources is essential to fully leverage the new system resources. The Kinetis L series will benefit from a comprehensive enablement package standard for Kinetis devices, consisting of the Freescale CodeWarrior IDE, MQX RTOS and associated middleware, as well as support from the extensive ARM ecosystem.
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