Zilog brings 8-bit pricing down to 39 cents
Now here's a company that could teach Intel a thing or two about low cost and high volume...
Once upon a time there was a company called Zilog which, before Intel even got to be a medium-sized company, supplied the Z80 CPUs that powered rather a lot of Sinclair Spectrums and ran the CP/M OS that provided a fair old slice of the pre-Intel desktop computing market. And indeed there still is a company called Zilog -- it's just announced the Z8E000 microcontroller at 39 cents a pop, for volumes of 500,000 and above. But does it run CP/M? It's part of the Z8Plus family of microcontrollers, and is 8-bit. It has 512 bytes of OTP program memory, 32 bytes of register (no relation) file RAM and a 16-bit timer. Old 8-bit CPUs didn't die, they just went heavily embedded, and while the newer entrants to the embedded market reckon that it's going to shift over to 32-bit, and they'll make a lot of money out of that process, at price points like these the old guard are obviously going to be difficult to shift. When ARM can make it into Zilog's proposed list of application it'll know it's really arrived: "sensors, battery chargers, switches, motor control, handheld meters, thermostats, power supplies, smoke detectors, toys, air flow control, clocks, lamp dimmers, robotics, motion detectors, displays and scales." Dull stuff, eh? The impression Zilog gives that we're talking about the CostCo of the semiconductor market here is reinforced by the pricing of the real time in-circuit emulator, programmer, assembler and GUI software you need to design for the Z8E000 -- a whole $99. ® Click for more stories
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