Freescale Semiconductor Inc. drew approximately 2,000 attendees and 300 exhibitors — including such heavy-hitters as Microsoft, Wind River, National Instruments, MontaVista, QNX, Tundra, Audistry and Future Electronics — to its second annual Technology Forum. The show and conference, held July 25-27 in Orlando, FL, included a news discussion headed by CNN's Jeff Greenfield and a closing speech from former astronaut Neil Armstrong. Michel Mayer, Freescale's chairman and CEO, kicked off the three-day conference by comparing electronic design to space exploration. "It's circuit science," he told a keynote audience, "and it's probably as exciting to Freescale as rocket science is to NASA."
32-Bit performance, 16-bit cost, 8-bit ease-of-use
Freescale says its new ColdFire V1 core combines 32-bit performance and ease-of-use with a cost that's only about 20 percent greater than current 8-bit. Moreover, the new 68K/ColdFire V1 32-bit core is compatible with the company's 8-bit products, reportedly making it the first industry device to offer such a feature. Freescale, which announced its so-called sweeping "controller continuum" plan in May, says new products based on this V1 core will use the same peripheral modules and development tools as products based on its S08 architecture. The V1, like other upcoming devices in the "8-to-32" roadmap, will also offer pin-for-pin compatibility. For more information on Freescale's new ColdFire V1, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4932-508.
Radio is just 1-inch square
Also at the conference, Freescale unveiled Redistributed Chip Packaging (RCP), a technology the company claims could replace ball grid array and flip-chip as the dominant packaging and assembly approach for advanced, highly integrated semiconductors. The technology — which eliminates wire bonds, packaging substrates and flip-chip bumps — reportedly simplifies assembly, cuts cost and provides compatibility with advanced wafer manufacturing processes. Freescale has used it to fabricate a radio-in-package that measures less than 25 × 25 mm (approximately 1-inch square). The tiny radio package contains all the electronics needed for a 3G mobile phone, including memory, power management, baseband, transceiver and RF front-end modules.
For more information on Freescale's Redistributed Chip Packaging Technology, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4932-509.
MRAM reaches volume production
At the conference, Freescale also demonstrated its fast, 4-Mbit Magnetostrictive Random Access Memory, a product based on more than 100 Freescale patents. The company's MRAM, which combines magnetic materials with conventional silicon circuitry, is said to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of Flash memory. Engineers believe that the commercialization of MRAM could hasten new classes of electronic products offering dramatic advances in size, cost and power consumption. Shortly before the show, Freescale announced that its MRAM is available and is in volume production.
For more information on Freescale's MRAM, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4932-510.