ARM has included the Mali GPU performance analysis in all editions of the DS-5 development software. The Community Edition, a free version of the DS-5 tools, lets Android application developers who write native C/C++ code achieve high-performance results and produce code with better portability between computer systems. The DS-5 Community Edition Android SDK and NDK installations are available now as free tools for use within an Eclipse IDE.
At Embedded World, ARM also introduced engineers to its ARM Energy Probe, which lets engineers measure power consumption on as many as three power rails and correlate it with system performance counters and software profiles. As a result, engineers and programmers can create energy-efficient mobile games and applications.
MSP430 Wolverine MCUs extend battery life
The Wolverine MCUs in the MSP430 family from Texas Instruments promise at least 50 percent lower power consumption than any other microcontroller, 360nA in real-time-clock mode, and less than 100μA/MHz active power consumption. TI's first Wolverine devices in the MSP430FR58xx family should become available in June 2012.
Because the new Wolverine MCUs provide FRAM, or ferroelectric random-access memory, they can operate at very low currents in active mode and consume 250 times less energy per bit than MCUs that rely on Flash memory or EEPROM. And because the FRAM cells offer 100 percent retention of information, developers have the benefits of low power consumption along with the speed and flexibility of SRAM. The FRAM also lets engineers partition memory as they choose between program and data storage. No need for separate RAM- and Flash-type partitions, so programmers have the flexibility to assign memory spaces as needed.
Developers who want to get started ahead of TI's providing Wolverine samples in June can start with its portfolio of almost 500 MSP430 microcontrollers.
Silicon Labs jumps into 32-bit MCUs with ARM Cortex-M3
Silicon Laboratories, already well known for its low-power analog expertise, 8051-based MCUs, and wireless components, added to its portfolio with ARM Cortex-M3 MCUs in the new Precision32 family. At present, the family comprises two branches with a total of 32 devices. The SiM3U1xx branch includes a USB 2.0-compliant full-speed interface with 10 end points, and the SiM3C1xx that does not include a USB interface. USB interfaces require no external components.
Both families include many peripherals and the Silicon Labs crossbar switching technology that lets engineers "pick and place" peripherals as needed at available pins. A graphical interface within the company's free code development tools lets engineers easily choose analog and digital peripherals and establish the pinouts for these devices. Most other MCUs have fixed pinouts, and the resulting multi-use pin conflicts force developers to alter their designs or choose larger, costlier MCU packages.