NUREMBERG, Germany — Falling costs for 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) has prompted considerable speculation about them displacing 8-bit MCUs for new designs. But 8-bit MCUs aren't nearly dead yet. Silicon Labs just announced at Embedded World a new series of 8-bit MCUs that target a range of cost-, power-, and space-sensitive applications in the Internet of Things (IoT).
Silicon Labs is investing in new 8-bit devices, the company's director of marketing for 8-bit MCUs Tom Pannell told EE Times, because developers are looking for simplicity to speed their design efforts. “We've been working to provide performance, value, and ease-of-use for IoT developers,” said Pannell. “The 8-bit architecture is easier to use than others, and offers lower cost and power. Our high-speed, pipelined 8051 core provides the performance.”
The company also sees the 8-bit market as still thriving. The company quoted a report from Tom Hackenberg of market research firm IHS indicating that 8-bit devices will retain a third of the MCU market for several more years. Indeed, IHS expects the market to growing in value, reaching $7.8 billion in 2018.
To address a diverse range of applications, Silicon Labs has released the new EFM8 MCU family as three product lines, all with an apiary theme: Busy Bee, Sleepy Bee, and Universal Bee. A set of six low-cost (<$30) starter kits for these devices were also announced.
To read more of this external content, go to “8-bit MCUs stake new claim on IoT.”