NEC Unveils 8-Bit All Flash Microcontrollers with LCD Driver

NEC Electronics America, Inc. introduced its new 78K0/Lx3 line of 8-bit all flash microcontrollers (MCUs) with on-chip liquid crystal display (LCD) controllers/drivers and extremely low power consumption levels. The 78K0/Lx3 family features 46 devices and 76 product configurations. The MCUs are ideal for consumer electronics-type products that have LCD panels and strict power consumption requirements. The new devices can be used in home healthcare equipment such as scales, blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters; HVAC and industrial systems such as utility meters; and household appliances such as coffee makers.

“To meet the increasing demand for more sophisticated functions in consumer electronics products, system designers are being tasked with finding ways to reduce power consumption levels and provide additional design flexibility,” said Bart Ladd, general manager, standard solutions strategic business unit, NEC Electronics America. “NEC Electronics’ 8-, 16- and 32-bit all flash lineup, which includes the new 78K0/Lx3 devices featuring on-chip LCD controllers/drivers, offers greater flexibility and lower power consumption without compromising costs, performance or reliability.”

With the addition of these latest devices, NEC Electronics America’s comprehensive lineup now includes 290 all flash MCUs, ranging from compact and economical 8-bit devices to high-performance 32-bit ones.

All of the new MCUs have integrated LCD drivers/controllers that help designers reduce the number of system components and increase system reliability. An optimized circuit design reduces standby power consumption by approximately 50 percent, to just 2.3 microamperes (uA), compared to the previous-generation 78K0/Lx2 MCUs, while an on-chip 16-bit A/D converter offers a 64-fold improvement in resolution. Additionally, by having eight rather than four common signal ports, the 78K0/Lx3 devices support up to 288 display segments compared to the previous generation’s 160. These improvements enable designers to create products with higher LCD resolution, or products with the same LCD resolution but fewer display segments.

The new MCUs are available in 76 configurations, with embedded flash memory capacities ranging from 8 to 60 kilobytes (KB) and pin counts ranging from 48 to 80. The flash memory is based on SuperFlash(R) technology licensed from Silicon Storage Technology, Inc.

NEC Electronics America also provides an array of tools to support efficient development for all of its MCUs. These tools include the MINICUBE2(TM) debugger/flash programmer, which makes it easy to develop and test MCU programs, and the Applilet device driver generator, which supports the development of program code for MCU peripheral functions. Together, these tools provide an easy-to-use design environment for the development of MCU software.

As part of NEC Electronics’ global manufacturing strategy announced in February 2006, the manufacturing capabilities of the company’s plant in Roseville, California, now include a 0.15-micron process using eight-inch wafers in addition to existing 0.35- and 0.25-micron processes using six-inch wafers. The 0.15-micron pilot line is expected to reach mass production levels this summer and will be used to manufacture many of the new 8-bit MCUs.

Pricing and Availability
Samples of the new 78K0/Lx3 devices will be available starting in March 2007. Pricing varies according to device specifications. For example, the 80-pin 78K0/LF3 MCU with 60 KB of flash memory is priced at $5 per unit for 1,000-lot quantities. Volume production is scheduled to begin in April 2007, and monthly production is expected to reach approximately 1,000,000 units by the third quarter of 2008. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

About NEC Electronics
NEC Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) specializes in semiconductor products encompassing advanced technology solutions for the high-end computing and broadband networking markets, system solutions for the mobile handset, PC peripherals, automotive and digital consumer markets, and platform solutions for a wide range of customer applications.

MINICUBE2 is a trademark or registered trademark of NEC Electronics Corporation in Japan, Germany and other countries. SuperFlash is a registered trademark of Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. in the United States, Japan, and other countries.