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Monday, May 23, 2011

Freescale moves Coldfire microcontrollers to 90nm with added mixed signal

FlexMemory and ultra-low power consumption for consumer and industrial applications on next generation devices
By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

In a move that will be welcomed by many embedded system designers, Freescale has ported its Coldfire architecture to 90nm and added more mixed signal capability to give higher integration and lower power consumption. 
Built on 90nm thin film storage flash technology with FlexMemory, the ColdFire+ MCF51Qx and MCF51Jx microcontroller (MCU) families are built upon Freescale’s strong heritage of 32-bit MCU development and the new families are the next step in the evolution of ColdFire architecture says the company. The ColdFire+ Qx and Jx families bring new features to the ColdFire portfolio, including FlexMemory, configurable embedded electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), highly-accurate mixed-signal capability, low-power features and additional application-specific peripherals for consumer devices.
“We developed the new ColdFire+ MCUs to help our customers achieve their design goals calling for smaller, low-power and cost-effective MCUs,” said Jeff Bock, director of marketing for Freescale’s Industrial and Multimarket MCU business. “With more than 40 new products under the ColdFire+ umbrella and a comprehensive set of design and enablement tools, we’re giving our customers what they need to create the next generation of energy-efficient industrial and consumer devices.”
The ColdFire+ Qx and Jx product families are aimed at industrial applications like building control (HVAC and light automation) and portable medical devices, as well as portable consumer devices. Capabilities include encryption and security, USB audio, capacitive touch interfaces and display technology. ColdFire+ MCUs can provide these functions while helping to provide optimal battery life and reduced size and cost.
ColdFire+ MCUs also offers a touch sensing module, which, when combined with Freescale’s recently introduced Xtrinsic Touch-Sensing Software, simplifies touch key configuration by allowing multiple electrode array combinations and provides designers a full-scale, highly accurate and robust touch sensing solution.

ColdFire+ MCF51Qx and MCF51Jx families
The ColdFire+ portfolio includes the MCF51JF, MCF51JU, MCF51QM, MCF51QF, MCF51QH and MCF51QU families. These families are pin- and software-compatible and feature:

• Innovative FlexMemory, configurable EEPROM
• 10 flexible ultra-low-power modes
• 16-bit ADC and 12-bit DAC, providing flexible and powerful mixed-signal capability
• Cryptographic acceleration unit and random number generator for secure communication
• Integrated capacitive touch sensing and display support
• Jx only: integrated USB 2.0 full-speed device/host/OTG controller, supporting connection and battery charging via USB
• Jx only: serial audio interface, providing direct interface to codecs and inter-IC sound (I2S) audio devices
• Package sizes as small as 5x5 mm for space-constrained applications

The software bundle features Freescale’s complimentary MQX real time operating system (RTOS) with USB audio, mass storage, human interface device and class stacks that help simplify hardware management and streamline software development. Also included is CodeWarrior Development Studio, a comprehensive integrated development environment with MQX RTOS kernel awareness for advanced debug support that is based on the Eclipse open development platform, providing a visual and automated framework to accelerate the development of complex embedded applications. In addition, Freescale’s Tower System, a modular development platform, potentially saves months of development time through rapid prototyping and tool re-use. 
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