Freescale shrinks world’s smallest ARM-based MCU

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

The new KL03 family reduces the size and power of the ARM M0+ controller to fit into a 1.6 x 2.0mm chip scale package as well as standard packaging. The controller is also being used in system level packaged parts that combine Zigbee and WiFi wireless links in a single 8x8mm RCP package to act as an IoT node.
“RCP allows us to take multiple die passives and antenna to build entire systems in an 8×8 BGA that is in fact a very advanced,” said Geoff Lees, senior vice president and general manager of microcontrollers at Freescale. “We’ve been using it to built research and military projects but now we have started to use it in earnest for mainstream production next year in Asia and upgraded manufacturing by the end of the year at the pilot line at Chandler. To me that’s the critical last part of the landscape for the Internet of Things – we will be starting sampling in April.”
The shrink opens up new form factors says Lees. “For connectivity, wearable and ultra low power, a lot of these are not traditional board designs but unique packaging,” he said. “These can be buried in the cables that connect devices right through to thin flexible assemblies within clothing.”
“When size is no longer a barrier to incorporating microcontrollers into edge node devices, we can start to redefine what’s possible for the Internet of Things,” added Rajeev Kumar, director of worldwide marketing and business development for Freescale’s Microcontrollers business. “We see the miniaturization of MCUs as a key driver of IoT evolution. With the groundbreaking form factors of the new Kinetis KL03, systems designers for edge node products now have the technology they need to develop entirely new product categories capable, quite literally, of changing the world.”
The KL03 is more than a shrink of the KL02 says Lees. It integrates a higher performance 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ core, with 1.71-3.6V operation and a bit manipulation engine for faster, more code-efficient handling of peripheral registers. It also includes a high-speed 12-bit analog-to-digital converter, internal voltage reference for high ADC accuracy and high-speed analog comparator, as well as a secure real time clock and timers for a broad range of applications including motor control.
An added ROM-based boot loader allows factory programming and on-line system firmware upgrades without adding circuitry to the board, reducing programming-related costs for customers. An internal high accurate voltage reference delivers improved analog performance by supplying an embedded 1.2V reference for the ADC, enabling several use cases for applications requiring high ADC accuracy.
Initial sampling of the Kinetis KL03 MCU will begin in March, with full production planned for June 2014. Suggested resale pricing is $0.75 in 100K-unit quantities.

Related stories:
ARM powered Kinetis miniature MCUs come in 1.9x2mm WL-CSP
Freescale re-enters the RF IC market for the Internet of Things


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