Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Atmel | SMART Microcontrollers

Atmel, the manufacturer of the microcontrollers (MCUs) on the Arduinos, just announced a new brand name for their 32-bit ARM core MCUs -- they're now called Atmel | SMART.

The news release I saw this evening indicates that, in addition to launching this umbrella brand for its ARM MCUs, there's a new chip family in Atmel | SMART (why did the marketing people have to put a pipe between the two words??), designed primarily for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The new MCU, known as SmartConnect SAM W23, has integrated WiFi to make it easier on hardware designers and firmware coders who want to connect their embedded application to the Internet. I've seen firsthand that combining an MCU and a WiFi chip
Atmel SAM W23
in a circuit can be challenging, especially if it's not a high-volume application that lots of people have already figured out and provided code for others who don't spend a lot of time interacting with WiFi in their PCB applications.

Atmel has two online entry points for people who want to know more about Atmel | SMART. One is a general 'marketing' webpage with cute graphics and not much information. The other entry point, probably more worthwhile for someone who wants to use one of these MCUs in a project, is the product information page for the Atmel ARM MCUs. If anyone tries out one of the SAM W23s, let me know how you like them. I don't know if they're even on the distributor sites like Digikey, Mouser or Jameco, but if they're not there yet, they will be soon.


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