NXP puts 32bit ARM core in 8pin package for 39¢

November 13, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
NXP Semiconductors has launched a 32bit ARM M0+ microcontroller in a package as small as 8 pins to replace 8 and 16bit devices for just 39¢ in volume.

The key to the launch of the LPC800 is a switch matrix that allows a range of peripherals, including three UARTs, two SPI or an I2C interface to be allocated to any pin - from an 8pin dual in line package (DIP) up to a 20pinTSSOP costing 69¢ in volume.
The designer can assign on-chip peripherals to any pin with a single line of code or a single click in a graphical configuration tool with auto-generated code to add to a project to be compiled. Drivers for the interfaces are also included in 8K of ROM to free up space in the 16Kbytes of flash.
“Over the last several decades, 8-bit MCUs have excelled at simple tasks, providing reliable, deterministic performance. With the LPC800, we have designed a 32-bit microcontroller from the ground up to offer true 8-bit simplicity and real-time performance, along with unprecedented design flexibility. And with its breakthrough price point, the LPC800 family is driving to the heart of the low-cost, high-volume 8-bit world,” said Jim Trent, vice president and general manager of the microcontroller business at NXP Semiconductors. "We don't believe anyone has delivered an 8/16bit product that engineers really want," he said.
The chip is bult in a 140nm process with a 30MHz 'Flycatcher' core for low cost, and lower cost versions below 30c are planned, but not necessarily with the switch matrix, says Trent, for very high volume applications. A faster version of the core could also be used in the other LPC1100 family members.
The peripherals for the LPC800 have been redesigned for 8bit projects. The new SPI can operate as a slave at frequencies independent of the processor clock, solving the common frustration of having to over-sample 4-to-n times the SPI just to receive data. This decoupling of the SPI and processor clock speed reduces power and simplifies the system design. The I2C has also been re-engineered to allow the LPC800 to