Future of XMEGA

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You really need to come down from cloud cuckoo land and join the real world. There is one thing that drives a capitalist economy and that is the pursuit of profit. No manufacturer (and that include the likes of Sony and even Apple) pay any more for any component in any product than they have to.

 

Apple have sold something like 100m iPhones. Suppose they could save just $0.01 per unit that would have been $1m!! If they paid $1 more per unit than they really needed to that would have cost $100,000,000 - that is 1/10th of 1 billion dollars!!

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clawson wrote:

 I've worked in consumer electronics for decades. We've always been keen to hit key price points like £49, £99, £199, £249 and so on. That gives you your target for the retail price to the consumer.

Do you know what lead pitch can currently be Wave soldered ?

I've seen QFP packages spun 45' on consumer products to wave solder, with longer pads.

 

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clawson wrote:

You really need to come down from cloud cuckoo land and join the real world. There is one thing that drives a capitalist economy and that is the pursuit of profit. No manufacturer (and that include the likes of Sony and even Apple) pay any more for any component in any product than they have to.

 

Of course they don't pay more than they have to, but they don't choose the cheapest components. Certainly Apple could cut down the production cost from that $236 to say $100, but then it would be a much less desirable product that doesn't sell at the same margin. They don't use a cheap display nor a cheap processor. You can't just calculate that they would now make $136 * 100M more profit, since they wouldn't get the same price or sell the same numbers. It's a different thing, if you can save without any difference to the product (that a customer would notice).

 

An air conditioner or a waching machine is of course a totally different product, but they are getting more "inteligent" and thus may need a better MCU than the absolutely cheapest one. I really can't see xmega as a terrible expensive one that could not be used in them.

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 5, 2016 - 09:36 PM
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When I lived in US one summer I had to buy a air conditioner (about 8 years ago), and they had one for $69 and a quick test Wallmart has one for $112.

 

You don't know perhaps you get the extra feature by changing a switch on the mother board. (They make you get into the store with the low price but happy leave the store paying $100 for some added features), but other times there actually are some of the features that cost more to produce.

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 5, 2016 - 10:03 PM
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joeymorin wrote:
30µA/MHz.  Holy smokes. ...

...

Integrated buck converter. ...

Atmel SAM L is close and has a buck converter but its BACKUP mode with RTC is about one microamp (14uA max at 85C); ATxmega256A3U power-save with RTC is one microamp typical to 3uA max. (85C or 105C).

Atmel Corporation

SAM L MCUs

http://www.atmel.com/products/microcontrollers/arm/sam-l.aspx

...

The Atmel® | SMART SAM L family of microcontrollers (MCUs) delivers power consumption down to 35 µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in Sleep mode.

...

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman wrote:
Atmel SAM L is close and has a buck converter but its BACKUP mode with RTC is about one microamp (14uA max at 85C); ATxmega256A3U power-save with RTC is one microamp typical to 3uA max. (85C or 105C).

 

I'd like to see more XMEGAs with battery backed RTCs. The current selection is quite small, but it's an important feature.

 

Someone is bound to say that there is the 16 bit RTC peripheral, so allow me to explain why a more independent one is desirable. The problem with the XMEGA 16 bit RTC is that you the MCU resets it normally loses its count. You can kinda get around it by marking the in-memory variables as "no init", but basically a reset is going to screw your RTC up to a lesser to greater extent.

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joeymorin wrote:
Lead me to Ambiqu:

mojo-chan wrote:
I'd like to see more XMEGAs with battery backed RTCs. The current selection is quite small, but it's an important feature.

Energy harvesting demands full-spectrum microcontroller efficiency

(Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Ambiq Micro)

February 05, 2016

http://www.embedded.com/design/mcus-processors-and-socs/4441355/Energy-harvesting-demands-full-spectrum-microcontroller-efficiency

...
Development over many years at the University of Michigan and Ambiq Micro has led to many sub-threshold innovations ...
...
There are ultra-low energy real-time clock designs that can check for external issues, such as issues raised by hardware interrupts or changes in input voltage sensed by a comparator.
...

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman wrote:

Ambiq

 

I know you love these guys, but their website doesn't offer up datasheets for their MCUs without registering. All the claims seem to be speculative rather than based on real world measurements.

 

Their RTCs look okay but not that exciting. Another item for my BOM, a single interrupt input line... It's not a great substitute for a MCU's RTC, and I can't seem to buy them around here anyway.

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mojo-chan wrote:

but their website doesn't offer up datasheets for their MCUs without registering.

Ahem:

 

joeymorin wrote:

EDIT: Ah.  Datasheet:

http://ambiqmicro.com/sites/default/files/apollo-product-sheet-lowest-power-mcu.pdf

FYI I wasn't required to (nor did I in fact) register.

 

 

mojo-chan wrote:

All the claims seem to be speculative rather than based on real world measurements.

 

gchapman wrote:

There is an evaluation board.

Jack Ganssle wrote:

Is it a real part? You betcha. I have an eval board in my lab. More details will follow when I have a chance to play with it.

 

mojo-chan wrote:

Their RTCs look okay but not that exciting. Another item for my BOM, a single interrupt input line... It's not a great substitute for a MCU's RTC, and I can't seem to buy them around here anyway.

gchapman wrote:

Ambiq Micro sells the die to Abracon for packaging and test

DigiKey shows thousands in stock:

http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/integrated-circuits-ics/clock-timing-real-time-clocks/2556170?k=abracon&pv142=160&pv1754=2&FV=fff40027%2Cfff8010a&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25

 

Where are you that you can't get parts from Digi-Key, Mouser, Newark, Farnell, etc...?

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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joeymorin wrote:

EDIT: Ah.  Datasheet:

http://ambiqmicro.com/sites/default/files/apollo-product-sheet-lowest-power-mcu.pdf

FYI I wasn't required to (nor did I in fact) register.

 

That's not a datasheet, it's a single page summary.

 

The fact that this micro isn't available anywhere and that there is no final public datasheet rather suggests that it's pre-production, which means all bets on performance are off.

 

gchapman wrote:

Ambiq Micro sells the die to Abracon for packaging and test

 

The datasheet lists the part numbers as AM1805 and AM1815. Farnell UK and Mouser UK don't list them under those part numbers. How am I supposed to know that I need to search for Abracon parts? I found it on the Ambiq web site, I tried searching suppliers for Ambiq and came up with nothing.

 

These guys are clowns.

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mojo-chan wrote:

That's not a datasheet, it's a single page summary.

That's my error.  Full datasheet (368 pages):

http://ambiqmicro.com/system/files/Apollo_MCU_Data_SheetDS0010V0p45.pdf

 

mojo-chan wrote:

The fact that this micro isn't available anywhere and that there is no final public datasheet rather suggests that it's pre-production

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=APOLLO512KBRAMBIQMICRO6061043&IM=0

Looks like for < $4 you can have one of your own.  Similar quantities for the WLCSP package type.  Seems they're behind schedule on the 256KB, 128KB, and 64KB versions (meant to be available 4Q15, but parts searches turn up nothing).

 

Future Electronics also shows up in the search results for that part number from ECIA and Octopart. 

 

Future Electronics also carries the rest of Ambiq's silicon, and a couple of eval kits for the micros:

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Search.aspx?dsNav=Ny:True,Nea:True,N:4294852175

 

mojo-chan wrote:

How am I supposed to know that I need to search for Abracon parts?

By reading :)

http://ambiqmicro.com/contact

Our Sales Representatives and Distributors

 

United States

Forte Technical Sales
2033 Gateway Place
5th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110

Phone: 408.573.6131
Contact form

Web: fortetechnicalsales.com

 

Worldwide

Future Electronics
237 Hymus Blvd.
Pointe Claire, QC H9R 5C7
Tel. (514) 694-7710

 

Abracon Corporation
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
+1 (949) 546-8000

Abracon branded products are in stock and immediately available from:

More Distributors under: Europe, China, Japan.

 

 

mojo-chan wrote:

These guys are clowns.

I see no reason to bring the performance arts into this discussion.  Besides, some of my best friends are clowns.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 9, 2016 - 05:15 PM
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Again, the datasheet is marked "preliminary" and listing Abracon as a distributor doesn't tell me I need to search for a different Abracon part number.

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mojo-chan wrote: 

listing Abracon as a distributor doesn't tell me I need to search for a different Abracon part number.

Why would you expect an Ambiq part no. on an Abracon branded part?

 

Abracon aren't the only distribution channel.  While their Abracon-sourced parts are rebranded, other channels carry the parts with their original Ambiq part no:

 

joeymorin wrote:

Future Electronics also carries the rest of Ambiq's silicon, and a couple of eval kits for the micros:

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Search.aspx?dsNav=Ny:True,Nea:True,N:4294852175

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=AM0805AQAMBIQMICRO1065092&IM=0

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=AM0805AQAMBIQMICRO2061738&IM=0

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=AM0815AQAMBIQMICRO2065017&IM=0

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=AM1805AQAMBIQMICRO5065017&IM=0

http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/Technologies/Product.aspx?ProductID=AM1815AQAMBIQMICRO8065017&IM=0

 

 

 

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"Read a lot.  Write a lot."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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mojo-chan wrote:

Again, the datasheet is marked "preliminary" ...

'Wow, really ? Some datasheets are tagged  "preliminary" for years...

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OK guys... I think "both sides" have had their say... time to return to arguing against any common enemy instead of each other. Besides Valentine's Day is just around the corner. cheeky

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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mojo-chan wrote:
The datasheet lists the part numbers as AM1805 and AM1815. Farnell UK and Mouser UK don't list them under those part numbers. How am I supposed to know that I need to search for Abracon parts?
AB for Abracon's versions; via Abracon Inventory tab :

http://dilp.netcomponents.com/cgi-bin/abracon.asp?partnumber1=AB1805-T3

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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mojo-chan wrote:
We need a ~16 bit ADC to get the dynamic range we require.
There are a relative few PIC18 and PIC24 with a 16-bit delta-sigma ADC.

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/PIC18F87J72

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/PIC24FJ128GC010

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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gchapman wrote:

mojo-chan wrote:
We need a ~16 bit ADC to get the dynamic range we require.
There are a relative few PIC18 and PIC24 with a 16-bit delta-sigma ADC.

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/PIC18F87J72

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/PIC24FJ128GC010

 

 

We did look at those. The 18F has an old, terrible architecture that would make our application unnecessarily complex, doesn't have enough RAM and is rather expensive. The 24F can only do 1ksps on the 16 bit channels, and we need at least 5ksps. Believe me, we looked long and hard before selecting XMEGA.

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In general you can't put make ADC with real 16bit, on a micro, if that is needed then get an external ADC.

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Why is that?

Leon Heller G1HSM

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You do other things on a micro at the same time, if you can sleep it could work, but in general you could have IO's go high and low around the time of sampling, and that could easy make 1mV noise internal in the chip. (just a simple thing like receiving on the UART could come at anytime)

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12 bit resolution with a 2.048V reference is 500uV/bit already. So yeah, 16 bit is quite a challenge. Fortunately we have quite limited bandwidth.

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Analog Devices does restrict the clock speed of their ARM Cortex-M3 that have the high resolution ADC.

Constraining the Analog Devices product selector for ARM Cortex-M3 to greater than 5ksps for 16b and 20b resulted in 3 possibles.

One that restricts the clock to 16MHz is the ADUCM350 with a 16bit SAR (?) ADC; the other two are higher speed core but with 20b delta-sigma ADC (an inherently noise tolerant ADC).

Analog Devices has had high resolution ADC on an 8051 core for quite sometime but these are relatively "slow" ADC; an example is ADuC848 1.

 


Analog Devices

ADUCM350 Datasheet and Product Info

http://www.analog.com/en/products/processors-dsp/analog-microcontrollers/arm-cortex-m3-processor/aducm350.html

Analog Devices

ADUCM331 Datasheet and Product Info

http://www.analog.com/en/products/processors-dsp/analog-microcontrollers/arm-cortex-m3-processor/aducm331.html

1 The Art of Electronics, third edition, Paul Horowitz, Winfield Hill, 15.6 Design example 4: thermal controller (RTD in bridge; then, differential amp, PGA, chopper 16b ADC, all in an ADuc848), pages 1069-1077.

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/physics/electronics-physicists/art-electronics-3rd-edition

Analog Devices

ADUC848 Datasheet and Product Info

http://www.analog.com/en/products/processors-dsp/microcontrollers/8052-core-products/aduc848.html

 

Edit : last URL

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Wed. Sep 13, 2017 - 04:59 PM
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mojo-chan wrote:
... and we need at least 5ksps.
Silicon Labs is one that keeps improving 8-bit MCU.

A 14-bit 900Ksps SAR ADC on an improved 8051 :

Silicon Labs

Silicon Labs

EFM8 Laser Bee 8-bit Microcontrollers (MCUs)

http://www.silabs.com/products/mcu/8-bit/efm8-laser-bee/Pages/efm8-laser-bee.aspx

One of the packages is SOP (pitch 0.635mm, 25mil); that's handy.

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 16, 2016 - 05:33 AM
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Just to clarify, I'm not looking for alternatives. There are other options, but we selected XMEGA because it's got the right features (not just ADC) and at the right price. The IDE is excellent, light years ahead of most of the competition (MPLAB X is crap, our PIC guy has an elaborate system to compile the code in Visual Studio 2008 because the code browsing is so much better) and the architecture is one of the best I've ever seen for 8 bit. We are now making thousands of these things every month and are very happy with the MCU, and have used other XMEGA parts in other products.

 

As such, I'd like to see Atmel continue to develop the line.

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Has anyone got an update on this thread? Still hoping for an ATXMEGA with OTG USB!

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It's pretty clear from recent releases that Atmel are moving in a more "downgraded" than upgraded direction for Xmega. They are pouring their effort into SAM chips for the more advanced end of things.

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Something very bad is happening at Microchip. Prices on a lot of stuff doubled since the take-over, and it seems like they going to ditch a lot of product lines. Their main interest in Atmel seems to have been ARM/wireless stuff, and the new ASF 4 only has very basic support for XMEGA.

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Follow the money...

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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At least they are upgrading the Tiny to be more like the xmega.

Maybe there will be some new mega upgrades in a similar fashion.
 

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As Cliff suggests, there seems little likelihood in upgrading either the Mega or XMega - they have SAM for that.

 

Hence effort will be expended at extending the low end downwards - where SAM does not fit.

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Well, but Microchip has new PIC18s in development. They look kind of mid range to me. So if new mid range 8 bit PICs are in development, why not new mid range 8 bit AVRs?

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jalbinson wrote:

Has anyone got an update on this thread? Still hoping for an ATXMEGA with OTG USB!

That may be optimistic.

 

A good quick reality check update for USB trends, is to search Digikey for Microcontroller, then sub-search USB.

 

Cheapest is a recent 8 bit SiLabs part, followed by new STM32F070F6P6, & new ATSAMD11C14A, then PIC16F1454, and rather down the list PIC18F13K50

 

If you then switch search to USB OTG, the cheapest is RX100 from Renesas, followed by PIC32MX210F016, but Digikey's OTG filter is not great.

Checking on Atmel's filter, the SAMD21 looks to have Device, Host support.

 

The other fine-print gotchas around USB, are things like no 5V regulator, 5V tolerant, & any Crystal dictate

 

eg STM32F070 is 5V tolerant, but says 

It requires a precise 48 MHz clock which can be generated from the internal main PLL (the clock source must use an HSE crystal oscillator). 

 

SAMD21 is not 5V tolerant, but says  "If crystal-less operation is used in USB device mode, refer to USB Clock Recovery Module."

 

If you want all of 5V regulator, 5V tolerant / 5V IO and No Crystal, in 32b USB device, then maybe a NUC125 is closest.

 

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As long as I can buy reasonably priced Xmegas32E5 for the next 50 years I'll be happy...in more ways that one...

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

Last Edited: Wed. May 31, 2017 - 02:36 AM
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El Tangas wrote:

So if new mid range 8 bit PICs are in development, why not new mid range 8 bit AVRs?

 

Google--> lucio di jasio Microchip avr

 

 

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ront1234 wrote:
Google--> lucio di jasio Microchip avr

And, surely, it was the new Tinies that he was referring to?

 

Again suggesting that the focus for 8-bit is low end - leaving the high end for SAM.

 

Which certainly makes sense to me!

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That blog post was from a year ago, and all that has appeared are the new xTiny parts... Which are very nice, can't wait to use them, but I still love XMEGA.

 

I'm going to have to make a real effort to get going with SAM. I just hate having to use libraries for everything, they are never as flexible or debuggable as just hitting the registers directly. I don't know why ARM has to be such a pain in the arse in that respect... Other 32 bit parts aren't that bad.

 

Bring back 68000 I say wink

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"And he says interest in the 8bit MCU remains strong. “Volume and revenue from the 8bit MCU sector continue to increase,” he said, “and we’re talking about billions. If you, as a manufacturer, can show you’re continuing to invest in a sector, then you will get a return on that investment – and Microchip is investing more today in the AVR portfolio than Atmel did over the last three years,” he concluded."

 

I was reading somewhere and can't find it right now, that 32bit was on the increase in sales but seems to now be slowing compared to 8bit.

Who knows what what will really happen in the next few years?

 

 

 

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mojo-chan wrote:
I just hate having to use libraries for everything

You don't have to use libraries for anything!

 

The registers are still there - the processor neither knows nor cares how you get to them.

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awneil wrote:

You don't have to use libraries for anything!

 

True, but here is a "minimal" example for ARM: http://pandafruits.com/stm32_pri...

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mojo-chan wrote:

That blog post was from a year ago, and all that has appeared are the new xTiny parts... Which are very nice, can't wait to use them, but I still love XMEGA.

 

Right, that shows how long it takes to bring them to market, some of those xTiny parts are still impossible to find.

Who knows what's in the works right now?

 

 

 

 

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ront1234 wrote:
I was reading somewhere and can't find it right now, that 32bit was on the increase in sales but seems to now be slowing compared to 8bit.

I would imagine that's because "32-bit" (specifically, ARM) is probably reaching (or has already reached?) saturation by now?

 

And there's probably some who were simply following the fad but have now realised that there are still places where 8-bit fits better - so there's a bit of adjustment going on there. We saw that from NXP recently ...

 

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ront1234 wrote:
I was reading somewhere and can't find it right now, that 32bit was on the increase in sales but seems to now be slowing compared to 8bit.

 

At the low end 8 bit parts are cheap enough now that you can just throw them into a design where previously you would have had some glue logic or a special purpose IC. I think there are more people who can do both electronic design and 8 bit code as well now. Being able to buy pre-programmed parts cheaply helps as well.

 

The proliferation of battery powered devices is also creating demand for 8 bit. IoT and wearables.

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Right, you may not really need an ARM in a toaster oven unless it's an IOT or has a video camera and sound.

 

 

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ront1234 wrote:
ARM in a toaster oven unless it's an IOT
But surely that is the point? The general movement is to have your toaster controlled by your smartphone or whatever!

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clawson wrote:

But surely that is the point? The general movement is to have your toaster controlled by your smartphone or whatever!

 

Really, even toaster ovens now?

And I thought the fridge was a little silly, I still like to open the door and see if there's any beer left.wink

 

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Well, OK, toaster may not be in this list...

 

http://www.gadgetreview.com/16-o...

 

but there's some pretty mad IoT ideas out there!

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Since they are using cameras, the Alarm Security System is a good idea since it should eliminate police showing up on a false alarm.

 

edit: fixed typo

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ISTR a picture of an "internet-connected"  toaster with a 16x2 character LCD bolted-on way back in the late 90s/early 2000s

 

I guess, nowadays, it would have to accept cookies ... ?

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ront1234 wrote:

Right, you may not really need an ARM in a toaster oven unless it's an IOT or has a video camera and sound.

 

ARM is quite competitive on price now, but the other big issue is reliability. For a toaster, that could potentially start a fire, you want something robust. Code as simple as possible, fully tested and audited. No huge black box libraries of manufacturer code. Run at 32kHz, single supply, wide temperature range, simple 8 bit ADC etc. It's realistic to do a full system test on power-up too, e.g. check all your RAM works properly, CRC the firmware and so on.

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