NXP Semiconductors has introduced the new MCX portfolio of microcontrollers. Particularly, their mission is to advance innovation in smart homes, smart factories, smart cities. In addition, the new portfolio will also aim to expand many emerging industrial and IoT edge applications.
To illustrate, the portfolio includes four series of devices built on a common platform. The widely adopted MCUXpresso suite of development tools and software supports the new MCX line. In addition, the combined offering allows developers to maximize software reuse across the portfolio to speed development.
The portfolio also features the first instantiation of NXP’s new, specialized neural processing unit (NPU) for accelerating inference at the edge. Thus, delivering up to 30x faster machine learning throughput compared to a CPU core alone.
Driven by the proliferation of edge devices, the MCU has evolved dramatically over the last few decades. While they are at the heart of many of today’s edge applications, the next generation of intelligent applications will require a new class of MCUs. Hence, this allows developers to navigate a complex landscape of power, performance, and security requirements. In addition, it also provides connectivity options, while balancing total system cost and energy efficiency.
The MCX portfolio stands on a common foundation of core technologies and supported by a unified software suite for maximal software reuse. This will enable the flexibility needed to address this challenge. Moreover, the breadth of the MCX portfolio allows developers to select devices that best fit their application needs, freeing them to invest in differentiating aspects of their design.
Ron Martino, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Edge Processing for NXP Semiconductors said the approach to 75 billion connected devices is paving the way to new era of edge computing. Thus, propelling the need to rethink how to best architect a flexible MCU portfolio. Most importantly, to make it a foundation for energy-efficient industrial and IoT edge applications.
“By building on our strong legacy in MCUs, this new portfolio will offer the performance and integration needed to address the real-time workloads for the next wave of innovation,” said Martino.
The four series in the MCX portfolio can simplify migration and scale up or down as needed with maximal software reuse to minimize development cost. Furthermore, the portfolio features high-performance Arm Cortex-M cores and integrates a comprehensive set of peripherals for design flexibility. MCX devices feature up to 4MB of on-chip flash memory, low power cache and advanced memory management controllers, plus up to 1MB of on-chip SRAM to further enhance real-time performance of edge applications.
NXP’s eIQ ML software development environment will support machine learning and run time inference. In addition, developers can utilize the easy-to-use tools offered by eIQ to train ML models targeting either the NPU or the CPU core and deploy them on the MCU. MCX families built following NXP’s security-by-design approach will offer secure boot with an immutable root-of-trust, hardware accelerated cryptography and, on select families, a built-in EdgeLock secure subsystem.