Kinetis mini MCUs: Just when you thought it couldn’t get smaller, it did!

Kinetis mini MCUs: Just when you thought it couldn’t get smaller, it did!

In February 2013, we announced the world’s smallest ARM Powered® MCU — the Kinetis KL02 MCU. The response from the market was tremendous (see here, here and here).

This 1.9 mm x 2.0 mm chip was poised to revolutionize the Internet of Things by enabling exciting possibilities for a new tier of ultra-small, smart, power-efficient devices. Design engineers were wowed by the performance and integration provided in an MCU that’s the size of a grain of rice, making the impossible seemingly possible.

As the Internet of Things continues to evolve, the demands for even ‘smaller’ design and more functionality become even more important.

Our engineering team took an already small MCU one step further: Why not add some additional functionality that customers want — but make the chip even smaller?

That’s exactly what we did with the recently announced Kinetis KL03 device, the next world’s smallest MCU. This chip is 15% smaller than its predecessor, but adds important functionality such as bootloader with ROM and ADC voltage reference. This means that design engineers can more easily support factory programming and online system firmware upgrades and deliver improved analog performance with higher accuracy. Plus, the Kinetis KL03 MCU enables even lower power (longer battery life) with new features like low power UART and low power wake up.

Smart product design, optimized ball layout

The Kinetis KL03 device is more than 35% smaller than competitive CSP solutions, and the Kinetis mini MCUs represent the best of the MCU industry showing just what electrical engineers can do with silicon. Could things get smaller? Definitely. Smaller dies, new process technologies, finer pitch solder ball layouts. The possibilities are endless. I am excited to see what the future holds.

The response from my first blog about the Kinetis mini MCUs was great, and hopefully you had some fun with the social media campaign that we talked about in my second blog. A couple of comments that I saw stood out for me:

First was weight. I previously focused the Kinetis mini MCU comparisons on size (primarily around area). But there is a big benefit to weight as well. We did some measuring in the lab and found that 5000 Kinetis KL03 CSP samples weigh under 20 grams. Especially when we talk about end-node IoT applications, we each have a vested interest in devices being as light as possible since many of these devices are expected to be carried on the person. Monitors, tracking devices, communication products need to be small AND light weight.

Second was more photos. Many of you said you wanted to see more photos with product comparisons to better visualize just how small these Kinetis mini MCUs really are. With the release of the new Kinetis KL03 device, I thought this was a perfect time to share some new photos.

But one of my favorite comments that I received recently said “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an actual part is worth ten thousand words.” I couldn’t agree more. Want to order a mechanical sample? Comment below.


Kathleen Jachimiak
Kathleen Jachimiak
Kathleen Jachimiak is a Product Marketer for microcontroller platforms and has worked in multiple marketing roles in support of MCU and MPU products. She's passionate about supporting the needs of today’s IoT customers by bringing connected, secure, low-power products to market. She currently manages marketing programs for the Kinetis ARM-based MCU product portfolio and has a degree in electrical engineering plus 15 years in the semiconductor industry.

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