Texas Instruments has managed to significantly reduce the cost of its popular MSP430 line of microcontroller with a series called the Value Line. For as little as 25 cents, TI's Value Line of MSP430G2xx devices give designers 16-bit performance and a very low power spec. What exactly do you get for 25 cents? You get 512 bytes of flash memory, 128 bytes of RAM, a 16-bit multi-function timer, 10 GPI/Os, and 22 interrupts.
Like some of its competitors, TI is claiming that such a part will take significant market share from some of its 8-bit competitors. It's hard to argue with that contention, given the cost and power specs of these MSP430s. The potential lists of applications for these MCUs include safety, security, and touch sense.
The roadmap for this line of MCUs includes more than 100 devices to be released over the next 15 months, with different variations of memory, peripheral, and packaging configurations. Frequencies run from 8 to 25 MHz. The MCUs offers five power modes with a standby power of 0.4 μA and a wakeup time of less than 1 μs. The integrated intelligent peripherals include 10-bit ADCs, a UART, a comparator, and serial communication.
The MSP430G2xx parts are code compatible across the MSP430 MCU platform, enabling easy code migration and upgrades to higher-end devices as application requirements evolve. The new MCUs are also supported by TI's familiar MSP430 tools (including a USB-based kit for $20), free software, and third-party network.