16-bit chips operate at 2.0V
Ideal for portable, power-hungry applications that require high performance, the 16-bit TLCS-900/L1 microcontroller series operates down to 2.0V. Other applications that could benefit are instrumentation control, test equipment, medical instruments, and data acquisition. The parts are based on the 900/H core, which designers optimized for C code efficiency. This core is also compatible with Toshiba's 16-bit TLCS-900 family, which, in turn, accepts code written for the 8-bit TLCS-90 controller family. This way, designers can use existing application software when migrating from one chip generation to the next. Other TLCS-900/L1 features include: a 10-bit ADC with external trigger, 3-channel UART, micro DMA controller, and 11 timers. On-board memory ranges from 96 to 128 kbytes of ROM and 3 to 4 kbytes of RAM.
Toshiba America Electronic Components, http://www.toshiba.com/taec
TrackPoint controller available to OEMs
IBM's TrackPoint(R) technology debuted in its ThinkPad(R) notebook computers as a miniature "joystick" in the middle of the keyboard that functioned as a cursor controller. Now it's available to other OEMs in a microcontroller. ROM microcode that implements the pointing technology is embedded in Philips Semiconductors' TMP754, a derivative of the venerable 8-bit 80C51. The device enables the press-to-select feature, which replaces the functions of the left button on a mouse. The ROM is larger than the current program requires to let IBM add more features in the future. Non-PC applications for the TMP754 include PDAs, surgical equipment, wheelchair controllers, game joysticks, and industrial machinery.
Philips Semiconductors, http://www.semiconductors.philips.com
8-bit controller fits 8-pin package
Microchip has developed what it claims are the world's smallest 8-bit microcontrollers with integrated ADCs. The 8-pin, one-time-programmable, 4-MHz controllers offer 1,024 or 2,048 words of program memory along with 128 bytes of user RAM. Other features include: six multiplexed I/O pins, 35 single-word instructions, 1-musec instruction cycle, LED driver, and watchdog timer.
Microchip Technology Inc., http://www.microchip.com
4-bit controllers boast 10-bit ADC
A new series of microcontrollers from Panasonic sports an on-board, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The feature makes the 4-bit parts suitable for such precision management applications as remote controllers, battery chargers, fire alarms, cameras, and LCDs. Specs of the 18-member family include: 1.8 to 5.5V dc operating voltage, frequency up to 8 MHz, 15 to 54 I/Os pins, 2 to 16 kbits of ROM, 128 to 512 nibbles of RAM, buzzer outputs, watchdog timers, and 100+ instructions.
Panasonic Industrial Company, Semiconductor Div., FAX (201) 392-4652.
Real-time control goes ROMless
Two new members of the ST10 16-bit microcontroller family--the ST10R163 and ST10R165--offer maximum interrupt-response times of less than 1 musec. The ROMless devices are based on a 10-MIPS CPU core that employs a register-based architecture. Registers are implemented as windows on a 1-kbyte block of very fast internal static RAM. By exchanging a register pointer, the parts can achieve the high-speed context switches required to meet the multitasking and fast interrupt requirements of real-time embedded applications. The devices suit control applications with high software content, such as ISDN telephone systems, point-of-sale terminals, and automatic teller machines.
SGS Thomson Microelectronics, http://www.st.com
32-bit chip suits products low-power
A new low-voltage 32-bit microcontroller from Motorola is ideal for high-end communication, consumer, and industrial applications requiring low-power operation. In fact, Motorola itself is using the 68338 in its Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular phones to extend battery life. Based on the 68020 architecture, the 68338 operates from 2.7 to 3.6V at 14.4 MHz; at 3.0V, typical power consumption is 100 mW. A built-in real-time clock enables the device to keep time while the microcontroller is shut down, thus further lowering overall power consumption. Additional features include: high-level-language support, fully static operation watchdog timer, configurable timer module, serial communications interface, 12 programmable chip selects, and 55 I/O pins.
Motorola, Advanced Microcontroller Division, http://www.mcu.motsps.com