Silicon Labs adds BB5 eight-bit microcontroller family

Eight-bit microcontrollers, optimised for price and performance make up the BB5 family by Silicon Labs. The series provides more development choices for simple applications, said the company.
The microcontrollers, like the PG2x family of 32-bit microcontrollers, share a single development platform, Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio. This suite includes all tools that are required like compilers, integrated development environments and configurators.
As the applications for embedded computing continue to expand, developers need to be able to select the right hardware, said Silicon Labs. While 32-bit microcontrollers are ideal for more complex and compute-intensive tasks, like machine learning inference or word recognition, simpler tasks that do not require the added power, and cost, use different development tools, making it difficult to develop for both. Developers will often absorb the extra development costs despite not needing the greater compute, explained Silicon Labs.
Sharing the Simplicity Studio development platform with 32-bit microcontrollers as well as Silicon Labs’ wireless enabled SoCs, drastically simplifies and accelerates the time to market said the company. It also eliminates the need for developers to learn two sets of tools and enables them to cost-optimise their devices by selecting the part that best fits the application’s need.
The new BB5 family includes the most powerful eight-bit microcontrollers on the market, as the 50MHz core frequency in the BB5 family generates 36 per cent more compute power than any other general eight-bit microcontroller. Target applications include battery-powered products such as power tools, handheld kitchen tools like immersion blenders, and even children’s toys. The BB5 family supports a wide range of voltage options, from 1.7 to 5.5V, allowing them to last for years in the field on a coin-cell battery.
They also come in a variety of packing sizes, from 2.0 x 2.0mm for the BB50 microcontroller and 3.0 x 3.0mm for the BB51 and BB52 which offer additional general purpose I/Os and increased analogue functionality. For certain applications, the eight-bit BB52 even offers greater price-performance than competitive 32-bit microcontrollers, said Silicon Labs.
The new BB5 family is now generally available from Silicon Labs and distribution partners.

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