NXP Shows 32-bit Cortex-M0 based CPU

Semiconductor company NXP has announced what it calls its first functional ARM Cortex-M0 silicon with mass production expected to debut at the beginning of 2010.

The Cortex-M0 is the smallest ARM processor architecture currently on the market with the lowest power consumption and most energy-efficient properties as it can consume as little as 85 microwatts per MHz.

NXP Semiconductors, a spin-off of Dutch electronics giant Philips, said that the LPC1100 will have just 12,000 gates and may find its way into very low power devices like battery applications, e-metering, consumer peripherals or remote sensors.

The ARM Cortex-M0 processor platform is expected to show greatly improved energy efficiency and "dramatic" code density improvements compared to previous generations.

Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, Microcontroller Division at NXP Semiconductors, said that "The Cortex-M0 processor takes the complexity out of using 32-bit processors. Customers can take full advantage of their existing ARM tool chains and preserve their software investment."

The ARM architecture leads the way when it comes to smartphones and embedded devices. Although the M0 is too slow to run in netbooks, it should find its way in wireless solutions like ZigBee and Z-Wave systems in the short term.

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Our Comments

The M0 is only one of the many members of the Cortex family. Some of the more powerful parts include the Cortex-A8 and A9 in single and multi processor range that will power mobile internet devices and hopefully netbooks in a very near future. The M0 runs at 50Mhz on a mature 180nm process.

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