ARM have today announced an update to the ARM Cortex-M0 MCU, dubbed the Cortex-M0+. ARM say that this new version is the world’s most energy efficient microprocessor, and are targeting its use for sensors and control systems. The M0+ could also works its way into home appliances, lighting and power systems, as well as medical monitoring devices, as we push our way toward the so-called "Internet of Things".
The Cortex-M0+ is a 32-bit chip, which, according to ARM, consumes just 9µA/MHz, around 30% of what traditional 8 or 16-bit chips use. Power consumption may be down, but performance is also superior to those offerings - ARM hopes to target those looking to upgrade their existing 8 and 16-bit chips, and entice them with this new 32-bit chip.
As more and more devices feature microprocessors and connect with each other thanks to the internet, low power consumption and high performance become extremely important. Tom R. Halfhill, senior editor of Microprocessor Report says:
Ubiquitous network connectivity is useful for almost everything - from adaptive room lighting and online video gaming to smart sensors and motor control. But it requires extremely low-cost, low-power processors that still can deliver good performance. The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor brings 32-bit horsepower to flyweight chips, and it will be suitable for a broad range of industrial and consumer applications.
Right now both Freescale and NXP Semiconductor have licensed the Cortex-M0+. NXP in the past used the previous version of this chip, the Cortex-M0, also for its low power consumption and high performance compared to 8/16-bit chips.