Motorola has unveiled its Nitron HC08 8bit microcontroller product line allowing manufacturers to program and re-program them several times in the development cycle.
This gives design engineers and OEMs the flexibility to adjust the end product to fast-changing market demands or correct problems remotely in the field, according to Semico Research chief of technology Tony Massimini.
But at US$0.70 per unit, the Nitron family offers re-programmable memory functionality at a similar price point to less flexible microcontrollers, including those based on one-time programmable (OTP) memory, Massimini said.
“Motorola has put a stake in the ground with the Nitron family, offering Flash technology at a price point half the current market,” Massimini continued.
“The Nitron family will mean significant evolution of product capabilities that will improve the functionality of an untold number of products – and allow manufacturers to adjust to changing market demands quickly, cost-effectively and much later in the manufacturing process.”
For example, a lighting manufacturer that currently offers a basic dimmer switch can use a Nitron 68HC908 Flash microcontroller to add features, such as programmable settings, time delays and safety shut-off with minimal effect on price.
A power tool utilising Nitron could also adjust its own applied torque depending on the application need, Massimini explained.
Semico estimates the 8bit microcontroller marketplace to be 43% of the total microcontroller market, even while the actual selling price for 8bit microcontrollers will be declining.