Broadening customer access to one of the industry’s most popular 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) architectures, Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) (NYSE:FSL.B) has initiated a ColdFire(R) licensing program for the embedded design community. Licensing ColdFire technology gives customers unprecedented design flexibility using a proven technology with nearly three decades of evolutionary development.
The V2 ColdFire core is available now for licensing through IPextreme Inc., semiconductor intellectual property (IP) licensing specialists. Specifically, IPextreme plans to market, sell and support the V2 ColdFire core to system-on-chip (SoC) designers seeking to integrate the core and other functions onto a single chip, helping them save time and money. Freescale plans to open licensing to additional ColdFire cores in 2007 and beyond.
“ColdFire has a rich heritage in the embedded market, and we are pleased to bring the architecture to a broader audience through our IP commercialization program,” said Warren Savage, IPextreme CEO. “Now SoC designers can work with Freescale and IPextreme to access and implement ColdFire microcontroller cores and other functionality to speed time to market and reduce system cost and complexity.”
By acquiring a license to the V2 ColdFire core, high-volume embedded system manufacturers are able to create their own low-power, highly integrated 32-bit application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) solutions containing a ColdFire core combined with their proprietary technology. ASIC devices based on ColdFire cores can be created quickly and cost-effectively to address emerging market opportunities requiring innovative, custom microcontroller designs.
“The ability to license ColdFire cores, available now for the first time in the 27-year history of the architecture, will give embedded designers greater choice and flexibility in their ASIC designs,” said Tony Massimini, chief of technology at Semico Research Corporation. “Freescale and IPextreme’s licensing program will also help expand the market for ColdFire architecture within the embedded control community, and it will help broaden the availability of third-party ecosystem support for the architecture.”
“The ColdFire licensing program is a key milestone in our Controller Continuum roadmap, broadening and deepening our market penetration within the 32-bit control industry,” said Mike McCourt, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Microcontroller Division. “The licensing program gives customers the design freedom and flexibility to develop application-specific solutions that provide control, connectivity and security for a wide array of consumer and industrial products.”
Based on a memory-configurable hierarchical architecture that is 100-percent synthesizable, the V2 ColdFire core is designed specifically for software reuse and ease of integration into custom designs. ASIC designs based on the V2 core will be software-compatible with all ColdFire standard products and cycle accurate with V2-based devices.
When implemented on 130 nanometer process technology, the V2 core supports up to 166 MHz of performance using a variable-length RISC architecture that allows instructions to be 16-, 32- or 48-bits long. The entire ColdFire family of embedded controllers is supported by world-class development tools, including the CodeWarrior(R) software suite and professional tools from Freescale’s third-party partners, such as Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics and Wind River Systems.
IPextreme plans to market, license and support the V2 ColdFire core to system-on-chip (SoC) designers seeking to integrate the core and other functions onto a single chip. To help designers decrease time-to-market, a standard product platform (SPP) that includes the V2 core is also available now from IPextreme. The SPP is a set of tested and silicon-proven peripherals that can be easily used to build large, complex systems.
For more information about the ColdFire licensing program or to obtain a license to the V2 core from IPextreme, go online.
68K ColdFire architecture in the embedded world
The ColdFire story begins with Freescale’s venerable 68K instruction-set architecture (ISA), developed in the late 1970s and widely popularized in computing and embedded applications. After further optimizing the 68K ISA for the embedded world, Freescale introduced the ColdFire architecture in 1996 as a RISC-based subset of 68K – targeting embedded applications.
To date, Freescale has shipped more than a half billion 68K ColdFire core-based products. Building upon the 68K foundation, the ColdFire architecture comprises high-performance RISC cores with industry-leading code density and a rich set of connectivity peripherals. By supporting variable-length instructions (16-, 32- or 48-bits long), the ColdFire architecture enables higher code density than traditional 32- and 64-bit RISC machines. More efficient use of on-chip memory reduces bus bandwidth and external memory requirements, resulting in lower system cost.
ColdFire MCUs continue to set the pace for the embedded market – from industrial automation systems to inkjet printers and MP3 players – by offering on-chip features and functionality that address the specific embedded application requirements. When the market demanded more connectivity, Freescale responded with multiple ColdFire connectivity options, including 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0, PCI, CAN and other serial interfaces. When the market required complex, real-time control for industrial applications, Freescale responded by integrating an enhanced Time Processing Unit (eTPU) on ColdFire architecture products. And when the market called for enhanced security, Freescale delivered cryptography accelerators as optional modules on ColdFire devices.
About the Controller Continuum
Introduced in the first quarter of 2006, Freescale’s Controller Continuum for consumer and industrial applications features an 8- to 32-bit roadmap with pin-for-pin compatible devices that will share common peripherals and development tools. The RS08KA family of 8-bit microcontrollers provides an ultra-low-end entry point into the Controller Continuum, while the recently announced V1 ColdFire core is the first step toward pin-for-pin compatibility between 8-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers.
About IPextreme Inc.
IPextreme brings high-value intellectual property (IP) from large semiconductor companies to consumer and automotive system-on-chip (SOC) designers worldwide. These products are silicon proven to minimize design risk and provided in a process independent and EDA neutral format, for easy use by the broadest range of customers. With a decade of experience in developing, packaging, licensing and supporting IP, our team offers a complete business solution for semiconductor companies to strategically leverage their internal IP portfolio to grow overall revenue. IPextreme has offices in Campbell, California, Munich, Germany and Tokyo, Japan.
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. (NYSE:FSL) (NYSE:FSL.B) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. Freescale became a publicly traded company in July 2004. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale, a member of the S&P 500(R), is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2005 sales of $5.8 billion (USD).
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