AUSTIN, USA: Freescale Semiconductor has introduced an ARM Cortex-M4 core based microcontroller (MCU) family designed for single-chip, graphics LCD applications. The high-performance Kinetis K70 family targets applications that require a sophisticated graphics LCD user interface as well as advanced connectivity and security functionality without the increased cost and power consumption associated with multi-chip designs.
Supporting the K70 is Freescale’s portable embedded graphic user interface (PEG) graphics development suite – a comprehensive visual layout and design tool that accelerates the design process by allowing developers to create rich graphic user interfaces (GUIs) within a simple PC-based environment.
Graphics LCD interfaces are quickly replacing traditional LED and segment LCD displays as more designers take advantage of the aesthetic, flexibility and cost benefits they provide. The Kinetis K70 family is an ideal solution for graphics LCD displays with its integrated graphics LCD controller, 1 MB of flash memory and 128 KB of SRAM, enabling it to drive LCD panels at 8-bit QVGA resolution without the cost and complexity of adding external program and frame buffer memory.
If needed, displays of up to 24-bit SVGA resolution can also be supported with external memory. With a 120/150 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 core, hardware floating point unit and crossbar architecture, the K70 family also provides the headroom to manage the performance demands of graphics processing while simultaneously managing real-time control, communication and connectivity functions typically required by HMI applications.
“The K70 is our most feature-rich Kinetis family to date, bringing a new level of performance, memory and integration to a portfolio already full of design options,” said Geoff Lees, VP of Industrial and Multi-Market MCU business. “Graphics LCD capability was the logical next step in the evolution of the Kinetis feature set. It allows developers to add attractive, multi-function user interfaces to their designs quickly and with minimal cost.”
Powerful graphics LCD enablement
With the support of Freescale’s PEG development suite, designers can quickly create high-color-depth, multi-layered GUIs that work tightly with an application’s real-time operating system. They can even move existing PEG applications from a different architecture to the Kinetis K70 family.
The PEG design tool, WindowBuilder, provides a simple drag-and-drop interface that enables the layout of GUI screens and controls in a PC environment exactly as they would appear on the end product display. The resulting C++ source code is then automatically generated and ready to be compiled and linked into the end application, minimizing development cost and accelerating time to market.
Freescale also provides its complimentary eGUI graphics driver for use with smaller resource Kinetis MCUs and ‘smart’ LCD displays. A powerful object style driver that includes touchscreen support and font and bitmap converter utilities, eGUI requires only a small memory footprint and can function standalone or with Freescale’s complimentary MQX real-time operating system.
All Kinetis MCUs are supported by Freescale’s CodeWarrior 10.x integrated development environment (IDE) with Processor Expert auto code generator, as well as the expansive ARM ecosystem that includes tools from IAR Systems, Keil, Atollic and Segger. Several new Freescale Tower System modules, including a new TWR-LCD-RGB peripheral module, provide a platform for rapid evaluation and hardware prototyping.
New feature options
The 120/150 MHz MCUs add several new features to the existing K10, K20 and K60 families, while retaining pin and software compatibility:
Faster CPU performance: up to 150MHz CPU speed and increased cache capabilities improve computing throughput providing one of the highest Coremark results to date on a Cortex M microcontroller.
Floating point unit – extends the range of data-acquisition-intensive applications like motor drive, audio processing and digital filtering by reducing computation time and increasing system accuracy.
Dedicated motor control peripherals – multiple timers and fast 16-bit ADCs with fault control and programmable delay block support for driving stepper, BLDC, and PMAC motors with sensor or sensorless algorithms.
High-speed USB host/device On-The-Go – supports 480 Mbps data transfer using an external ULPI transceiver.
DRAM and NAND flash controllers – enable the connection of DDR, DDR2 and low-power DDR memories as well as up to 32-bit ECC current/future NAND memories.
Engineering samples of the Kinetis K70 120 MHz MCU with 1 MB of flash memory are now available in a 256 MAPBGA package. Pricing for 10,000-unit quantities of the K70 120 MHz MCU with 1 MB of flash memory starts at a suggested resale price of $10.09.
Additional family members are planned to be available in early 2012, with full production planned for May. The Tower System TWR-K70F120M module is now available to order, and the TWR-K60F120M and TWR-LCD-RGB modules are expected to be available in Q1 2012.