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Toshiba releases ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller with lower mounting costs

Claims soldering costs will become important
Mon Apr 15 2013, 14:12
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CHIPMAKER Toshiba has launched a low pin count ARM Cortex M3 based TMPM372 microcontroller, touting lower mounting costs.

Toshiba's position as one of the largest semiconductor vendors has largely been built on producing large numbers of nondescript industrial chips. The firm announced that its latest ARM based microcontroller will reduce mounting costs. The TMPM372 microcontroller is based on ARM's Cortex M3 architecture and features a vector computing engine, however its lower pin count was what Toshiba promoted as a big plus point.

While chip vendors such as Toshiba supply finished chips, in many cases it is up to device makers to actually mount them onto the circuit boards. Toshiba's TMPM372 microcontroller has a shorter pin pitch, down from 0.8mm to 0.5mm, which the firm claims will lower the cost of soldering the chips onto circuit boards.

While ARM is doing a rip-roaring licensing trade in the smartphone and tablet industry, a significant percentage of the multi-billion ARM chips that its licensees ship every year end up as microcontrollers that use its various Thumb instruction sets.

According to Toshiba, as chip costs fall the cost of mounting the chip onto the circuit board will become a greater percentage of the total cost. The firm said in a statement, "As these products fall in price, the cost emphasis will extend beyond the main devices, such as microcontrollers, to include PCBs and related costs, including mounting costs. Flexibly meeting these requirements requires a variety of packages."

Toshiba said that it will put the TMPM372 microcontroller into mass production this May and that it plans to churn out one million chips per month. µ


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