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TI expands microcontroller portfolio

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Texas Instruments has announced an expansion of its MSP430 ultra-low power microcontroller platform with plans to add more than 50 new devices in the next 18 months.

TI’s portfolio expansion will target ultra-low power markets for industrial, medical and consumer products. The first devices introduce TI’s smallest, lowest power MCUs - the MSP430F20xx MCU series - which offers a 14-pin, 4 by 4 mm footprint and 16 million instructions per second (MIPS) of 16-bit performance.

The microcontrollers are the company’s first devices based on the recently announced F2xx architecture that operates with an active current of 200 micro-amps per MIPS. A flexible clock system allows operation up to 16 MHz with no external components using an improved digitally controlled oscillator that is fully programmable and stable over temperature and voltage, TI said, adding that the 14-pin footprint combined with a sub-1micro-amp standby current provides benefits in space constrained applications.

“Our customers challenged us to provide a tight-fit MSP430 MCU solution for cost sensitive consumer and security systems applications without sacrificing ultra-low power, performance and ease of use,” says Mark Buccini, TI’s advanced embedded controls director of marketing, in a statement. “We made no compromises. At only 4 by 4 mm, the MSP430F20xx is one of the smallest [microcontrollers] available and runs at 16 bits for the price of other 8-bit [micros]. It also packs 16 MIPS and less than 1 micro-amps standby with the choice of performance analogue converters.”

He continues: “These pin-compatible devices operate from 1.8 to 3.6 V and unlike competitive devices, the series is fully loaded and is 100 percent code compatible with all existing MSP430 families, allowing developers to leverage a single [micro] platform from the most basic to the most sophisticated applications.”

Following the MSP430F20xx microcontroller series, TI plans to introduce in Q4 the first in a family of enhanced MSP43FG46xx processors with an extended 1 MByte memory model, allowing access to 16 times more memory compared to the 64 kBytes available today. Later in 2006, TI’s microcontroller expansion will continue with new families of devices with increased MIPS, 5 V and 125°C capabilities, USB 2.0, low voltage operation and wireless connectivity, the company said.

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