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Microchips Latest 32-bit PIC Offers More Connectivity

Connectivity has been a driving force in electronics.  It is not just important for computing and consumer applications.  The industrial and medical markets show increasing need for connectivity.

Microchip Technology recently announced new members of its PIC32 32-bit MCU family to address this growing need.  Increasing connectivity for embedded control applications puts an increasing demand on memory requirements.  These communication protocols need more software stacks that must run simultaneously.  The new PIC32MX5/6/7 families are designed specifically for these data-intensive applications.

Microchip’s PIC32, a MIPS based product line, now offers memory sizes ranging starting at 256KB for Flash and 64KB for RAM, going up to a combination of 512KB and 128KB for Flash and RAM, respectively.  The company is integrating a wide variety of communication peripherals in different combinations: Ethernet, CAN and USB modules, along with UARTs, SPI, I2C and DMA channels.  The MCU is based on a high performance MIPS core at 80MHz.

Some of Microchip’s target markets are:

  • Communications (point-of-sale terminals, Web servers, CAN-to-Ethernet-to-USB bridges);
  • Industrial/Medical (automation, controllers, medical devices, security monitoring);
  • Consumer/Appliance (audio, MP3 decoders, displays, small appliances, fitness equipment);
  • Automotive (aftermarket, car alarms, GPS).

Semico Spin

Microchip is offering designers more in terms of memory and integrated features.  The pricing is competitive ranging from $4.73 to $6.55 (10Kunits).  Also notable is that Microchip is providing a large amount of free software and in source-code form.  The company is also offering a development platform with modules for both its 16-bit MCU and 32-bit MCU families.

Microchip is making a concerted push into the 32-bit MCU space.  One key element for the company’s success over the years has been customer support which includes development tools and cultivating third party support.

In 2009 MCUs have been hit badly by the current economic situation, especially automotive applications.  Industrial control has fared relatively better in these tough economic times.  The 32-bit MCU sales are projected to fall 9.9% this year.  However, demand is expected to rebound in 2010 driven by recovery in automotive and industrial control.  Semico forecasts 32-bit MCU sales will grow 30.6% to $5.4 billion.

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