Freescale Introduces Flexis Microcontrollers

Breaking new ground in 8- and 32-bit compatibility, Freescale has introduced the first two members of its new Flexis(TM) series of microcontrollers (MCUs). The MC9S08QE128 based on the S08 core, and MCF51QE128, the first device based on the ColdFire(R) V1 core, are the industry’s first 8- and 32-bit MCUs with pin-for-pin compatibility and a common set of on-chip peripherals and development tools.

The Flexis series provides the 8- to 32-bit “connection point” on Freescale’s Controller Continuum – the industry’s only roadmap for compatible 8- and 32-bit architectures. The Flexis QE128 family enables developers to migrate between low-end and high-performance embedded designs with exceptional ease, speed, cost effectiveness and ultra-low-power operating efficiency.

“Freescale’s Flexis QE128 MCU family breaks traditional bit boundaries and the old ‘rules’ of embedded system migration,” said Mike McCourt, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Microcontroller Division. “This pioneering device duo redefines 8- and 32-bit compatibility and enables developers to scale the performance and functionality of their embedded system designs with minimal time, effort and cost.”

By providing a clear migration path, the Flexis QE128 MCUs open up a wide range of possibilities in a variety of consumer and industrial applications, including health care instrumentation and monitoring, factory automation, point-of-sale equipment, fire and security systems, HVAC and building control, metering and consumer appliances. The compatible architectures and tools make it easy to expand into new embedded markets without having to invest heavily in software rewrites and conversion to a new architecture.

“Freescale’s new Flexis microcontrollers provide a logical migration path from 8-bit chips to much more powerful 32-bit controllers,” said Tom R. Halfhill, a senior analyst for In-Stat’s Microprocessor Report. “Developers win because they can upgrade their designs with less hassle. As embedded systems continue to need more processing power, any strategy that makes the transition easier is worth a close look.”

Unprecedented Compatibility
Freescale’s Controller Continuum provides unique flexibility to transition between 8-bit and 32-bit performance. With pin, peripheral and tool compatibility, the Flexis QE128 devices offer a simple migration path for customers who design a wide range of products.

For example, a developer can leverage the same board design, software code and development tools to scale up a simple 8-bit residential security control system to a sophisticated 32-bit commercial security control system or a basic home blood pressure monitor to an advanced hospital blood pressure monitor. Instead of starting over to create a low- or high-end version of a design, the developer simply switches out the pin-compatible 8- or 32-bit Flexis MCU and recompiles the code using the same CodeWarrior(R) Development Studio software.

Ultra-Low Power
As consumer and industrial devices become smaller, portable and more sophisticated, enhanced power efficiency and extended battery life have become application-critical requirements. The Flexis QE128 devices are designed to meet these requirements through optimized peripherals that enable lower operating voltage and current.

Flexis QE128 MCUs offer industry-leading ultra-low-power features to help minimize operating costs and extend battery life. The MC9S08QE128 and MCF51QE128 can run off of an external 32-kilohertz oscillator that consumes less than 1 micro amp of current. The Flexis QE devices also have an internal voltage regulator, which helps enable fast wake up from stop modes with a typical wake-up time of 6 microseconds. Stop modes for the Flexis QE128 devices are extremely low power, offering 370 nano amps of current in the lowest power stop mode. Clock gating also can be used to disable clocks to unused modules, further reducing run-mode power consumption by as much as 33 percent.

These ultra-low-power characteristics enable embedded developers to reap the compatibility benefits of the Flexis QE128 family while remaining in a very low power envelope, even when upgrading to 32-bit performance. This is critical for next-generation battery-powered applications.

Easy to Use
Freescale has simplified migration between 8- and 32-bit to a quick, easy MCU swap. Using a common integrated tool suite, developers don’t have to learn new code and tools.

Freescale’s CodeWarrior Development Studio for Microcontrollers 6.0 provides an array of built-in features and utilities to help developers deliver higher-quality products to market faster. For example, the Processor Expert(TM) rapid application design tool included in the CodeWarrior tool suite helps simplify the migration process between other Freescale MCUs.

To ease board design, Freescale offers the full-featured EVBQE128 evaluation board, the cost-effective DEMOQE128 demonstration board, and an extensive library of reference designs and application notes. Virtual labs and webcasts also are available to help developers learn how to design with the Flexis QE128 devices.

Flexis QE128 Product Features

  • MC9S08QE128: first 8-bit S08 MCU with up to 128 KB flash memory
  • MCF51QE128: first 32-bit ColdFire V1 MCU and industry’s most power-efficient 32-bit controller
    • Stop currents down to 370 nA
    • 6 microsecond wake-up time
    • Ultra-low run currents starting at 50 micro-amps
  • 50MHz S08 or ColdFire V1 core operating frequency
  • 25MHz bus frequency
  • Up to 8K bytes RAM
  • Up to 128 KB flash
  • 24-channel, 12-bit analog-to-digital (ADC) converters
  • Two analog comparators
  • 2x SCI, 2x I2C, 2x SPI
  • One 6-channel and two 3-channel timer PWM modules
  • Real-time clock (RTC)
  • Up to 70 general-purpose I/O (GPIO)
  • System integration: frequency locked loop (FLL) and software watchdog
  • Internal clock source (ICS)
  • Low-power external 32 kHz oscillator
  • 1.8V – 3.6V operating range
  • Enhanced internal oscillator, voltage regulator and real-time counter
  • Packages: 80LQFP, 64LQFP
  • Temperature Range: -40 degrees C to 85 degrees C
  • Common development tools including CodeWarrior for Microcontrollers 6.0

About the Controller Continuum
From the ultra-low-end RS08 to the highest-performance ColdFire(R) V4 devices, the Controller Continuum roadmap provides stepwise compatibility for an easy migration path up or down the performance spectrum. Stepwise compatibility means developers can move from one device to the next compatible device, from the low end to the high end of the continuum.

Developers can choose to enter the Controller Continuum at the ultra-low-end RS08 MCU family, the more sophisticated S08 MCU devices or the top-of-the-line ColdFire embedded controllers. Each step has family members that share packaging, peripherals or pin-outs with the next step up or down the Controller Continuum. The 8- to 32-bit compatibility connection point at the center of the Controller Continuum is Freescale’s Flexis series of MCUs.

Pricing and Availability
Early samples of the MC9S08QE128 and MCF51QE128 devices in 80LQFP and 64LQFP packages are planned for July 2007. Early samples of the MC9S08QE64 and MCF51QE64 devices, offering 64K of embedded flash memory in 64LQFP packages, are also planned for July 2007. Manufacturing samples are planned for November 2007.

The suggested resale price for the QE128 devices in 10,000-piece quantities start at $3.59 for the 8-bit device and $3.80 for the 32-bit device in the 64LQFP package. The suggested resale price for the QE64 devices in 10,000 piece quantities starts at $3.09 for the 8-bit device and $3.30 for the 32-bit device in the 64LQFP package. The EVBQE128 evaluation board is priced at a suggested resale price of $325, and the DEMOQE128 demonstration board is priced at a suggested resale price of $99. (All pricing is in USD.)

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2006 sales of $6.4 billion (USD).

Freescale(TM) and the Freescale logo are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.