TI gets serious about Stellaris

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

TI’s European Director of Embedded Processing Marketing & Applications, Matthias Poppel, confirmed the company’s strategy was to focus on the M4F – the floating point variant of the core – for future developments. Thanks largely to the 65nm process, the MF4 family delivers a standby current of as little as 1.6uA, around 100x better than the existing -M0 and -M3 based Stellaris families, but there is no intention to migrate older devices to the smaller process.

Earlier this year, TI announced the Concerto range of Stellaris MCUs, which marries a Cortex-M3 core with a discrete and proprietary DSP core. The M4F range will offer floating point DSP functionality, but the two families will be differentiated by their peripherals, most notably the 12 ADC, which is faster on the Concerto but more accurate on the M4F; Poppel explained that the move to the 65nm process also gave ‘more space’ to do ‘better’ analogue.

There is limited pin-compatibility between the incumbent Stellaris devices and the new M4F family, Poppel explained, adding that customers think pin compatibility is ‘nice, but not essential’. What is essential is good software support and Poppel claimed that some customers are more prepared to res-spin a PCB to take advantage of the M4F and associated software libraries than develop their own software libraries for older devices.

While a typical customer may only utilise around half of the available software from TI for any given application, Poppel believes that up to 75% of development time and budget is now spent on software development. He added that the ‘StellarisWare’ software offering is now a major factor in design-wins, and that many of the library functions can also be pre-programmed in ROM, saving even more development effort. Initially there are 40 M4F variants, boosting the Stellaris range to 220+, however it is expected that most if not all new development in the Stellaris range will focus on the M4F core.


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