Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. was an American multinational corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas, with design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations in more than 75 locations in 19 countries. The company employed 17,000 people worldwide.
On December 7, 2015, NXP Semiconductors completed its merger with Freescale for about $11.8 billion in cash and stock. Freescale shareholders received $6.25 billion in cash and 0.3521 of an NXP share for each Freescale common share. Including the assumption of Freescale's debt, the purchase price is about $16.7 billion.
|FreeScale Semiconductor Inc.|
|Fate||Acquired by NXP Semiconductors|
|Founded||Spin-off from Motorola in 2004|
|Defunct||December 7, 2015|
|Gregg Lowe (CEO)|
Geoff Lees (Microcontrollers)
|Revenue||$4.634 billion USD (2014)|
|$765 million USD (2014)|
|$251 million USD (2014)|
Number of employees
(Redirects to www.nxp.com)
Freescale was one of the first semiconductor companies in the world, having started as a division of Motorola in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1948 and then becoming autonomous by the divestiture of the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola in 2004. In 1955, a Motorola transistor for car radios was the world's first commercial high-power transistor. It was also Motorola's first mass-produced semiconductor device.
In the 1960s, one of the U.S. space program's goals was to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth. In 1968, NASA began manned Apollo flights that led to the first lunar landing in July 1969. The Apollo program was particularly significant for hundreds of employees involved in designing, testing and producing its electronics. The division of Motorola which would eventually become Freescale Semiconductor, supplied thousands of semiconductor devices, ground-based tracking and checkout equipment, and 12 on-board tracking and communications units. An "up-data link" in the Apollo's command module received signals from Earth to relay to other on-board systems. A transponder received and transmitted voice and television signals and scientific data.
Motorola has continued its growth in the networking and communications sector in later years, providing the tools behind the radio transponder, and going on to develop the first prototype of the first analog mobile phone in 1973.
Motorola's next generation 32-bit microprocessor, the MC68000, led the wave of technologies that spurred the computing revolution in 1984, powering devices from companies such as Apple, Commodore, Atari, Sega, Sun, and Hewlett-Packard.
In the 1990s, Motorola's technology was the driving force behind intelligent power switches for anti-lock brake systems, one of the first microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial sensor for automotive airbags, and Motorola's MPC5200 microprocessor deployed telematic systems for General Motors' OnStar systems.
Since then, Freescale continued to provide the technology behind consumer, medical, networking and automotive products from microprocessors for the world's first tubing-free wireless insulin pump, to and automotive microcontrollers for efficient engine design. Freescale's motion-sensing accelerometer powers the interactivity of the Guitar Hero video games. The number one provider of eReader processors worldwide was Freescale. In 2009, Freescale demonstrated the world's lowest startup voltage single inductor DC/DC converter for use in solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting applications.
In 2011, the company launched the industry's first multimode wireless base station processor family that scales from small to large cells – integrating DSP and communications processor technologies to realize a true "base station-on-chip". In addition, a recent ABI Research market study report states that Freescale owns 60% share of the radio frequency (RF) semiconductor device market.
Also in 2011, Freescale announced the company's first magnetometer for location tracking in smart mobile devices. With the partnership of McLaren Electronic Systems, they helped the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicles convert from carburetors to fuel injection starting in 2012.
On March 8, 2014, Freescale announced that 20 of its employees were passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. That plane, carrying the Freescale employees, was lost, with only small part of it found over a year later.
In March 2015, a merger agreement was announced through which Freescale Semiconductor would be acquired by NXP Semiconductors and that the companies would be merged to form a US$40 (equivalent to $42.28 in 2018) billion company. The acquisition closed on December 7, 2015.
On February 26, 2013, Freescale Semiconductor announced the creation of the world's physically smallest ARM-powered chip. The Kinetis KL02 measures 1.9 by 2 millimeters and is a full microcontroller unit (MCU), means that the chip supports a processor, RAM, ROM, clock and I/O control unit. The chip competes with the Atmel M0+ offerings, which are the low-power leaders in the industry. One application that Freescale says the chips could be used for is swallowable computers. Freescale already works with a variety of health and wellness customers. Both the Fitbit and OmniPod insulin pump use Freescale chips. The new chip was on display at 'Embedded World' in Nuernberg, Germany, from February 26–28, 2013.
Up to now devices with leading letter codes L, E, M, W containing ARM Cortex-M0+ cores and letter code K or KW containing ARM Cortex-M4 cores are known (see also the related section in the List of Freescale products).
QorIQ is a brand of ARM Architecture and Power Architecture-based communications microprocessors from NXP Semiconductors (formerly Freescale). The QorIQ brand and the P1, P2 and P4 product families were announced in June 2008. Details of P3 and P5 products were announced in 2010. QorIQ Layerscape product families were announced in 2013, based on Cortex A7, Cortex A9, A15, A53 and A72 cores upon the ISA agnostic Layerscape architecture.
In August 2014, Freescale Semiconductor introduced a range of fully programmable wireless charging chip and reference designs for consumer and automotive applications. The new chipset is certified to work with both the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi wireless standard and the Power Matters Alliances charging specifications.
Freescale focused primarily on automotive applications and is second in market share in automotive applications to Renesas Electronics. Due to this focus and exposure it is expected that car-sharing applications like Zipcar will have a significant negative impact on future Freescale revenues.
Motorola announced that their semiconductor division would be divested on October 6, 2003, to create Freescale. Freescale completed its IPO on July 16, 2004.
On September 15, 2006, Freescale agreed to a $17.6 billion buyout by a consortium led by Blackstone Group and its co-investors, Carlyle Group, TPG Capital, and Permira. The buyout offer was accepted on November 13, 2006, following a vote by company shareholders. The purchase, which closed on December 1, 2006, was the largest private buyout of a technology company until the Dell buyout of 2013 and is one of the ten largest buyouts of all time.
Freescale filed to go public on February 11, 2011, and completed its IPO on May 26, 2011. Freescale is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FSL. At the time of the IPO, the company had $7.6 billion in outstanding debt on its books, and the company is being investigated for misconduct related to this IPO.
Freescale is being sued by Marvell Semiconductor for infringing seven patents held by Marvell. The case is being litigated in the US District Court for the West District of Texas. Freescale recently lost a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Tessera Corporation and was forced to pay an undisclosed amount as part of the settlement.(dead link)
Freescale competes with a host of other silicon vendors, including Marvell Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Intel, AMD, Toshiba, STMicroelectronics, Infineon, NEC Corporation, Nvidia, Microchip Technology, Renesas, VIA Technologies, and Samsung Electronics.
Background debug mode (BDM) interface is an electronic interface that allows debugging of embedded systems. Specifically, it provides in-circuit debugging functionality in microcontrollers. It requires a single wire and specialized electronics in the system being debugged.
It appears in many Freescale Semiconductor products.
The interface allows a Host to manage and query a target. Specialized hardware is required in the target device. No special hardware is required in the host; a simple bidirectional I/O pin is sufficient.Communications Processor Module
Communications Processor Module (CPM) is a component of Motorola 68000 family (QUICC) or Motorola/Freescale Semiconductor Power Architecture (PowerQUICC) microprocessors designed to provide features related to imaging and communications. A microprocessor can delegate most of the input/output processing (for example sending and receiving data via the serial interface) to the Communications Processor Module and the microprocessor does not have to perform those functions itself. Some input/output functions require quick response from the processor, for example due to precise timing requirements during data transmission. With CPM performing those operations, the main microprocessor is free to perform other tasks.
The CPM features its own RISC microcontroller (Communication Processor), separate from the actual Central Processing Unit IP core. The RISC microcontroller communicates with the core using dual-ported RAM, special command, configuration and event registers as well as via interrupts.
Motorola 68302 Integrated Multiprotocol Processor featured a RISC processor controlled either by a microcode in ROM or by downloadable firmware. Various forms of microcode were shipped for different applications, for example to support Signaling System 7 communications or Centronics parallel interface. Motorola 68360 QUICC was the first design to feature Communications Processor Module, offering microcode for SS7 and ISDN applications. Specifications of the microcontroller programming interface were generally not shipped to customers. It was possible to run 68360 in slave mode and to use only CPM part of the chip, for example in the M68360QUADS-040 board, where 68040 CPU (master) is coupled with 68360 CPM (slave), with CPU of 68360 processor being disabled.CPM was used later in the PowerQUICC series of Power Architecture based processors. Early designs, like MPC860, used virtually the same CPM as the previous 68360 QUICC processors.Typical features of the CPM include:
Digital signal processing with multiply accumulate module (MAC),
Communication interfaces with serial communication controllers (SCC), serial management controllers (SMC), Universal Serial Bus, I²C and Serial Peripheral Interface Bus attachment,
Direct memory access (DMA) circuitry, interrupt controller, time-slot assigner and baud rate generators.Freescale 68HC08
The 68HC08 (HC08 in short) is a broad family of 8-bit microcontrollers from Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor).
HC08's are fully code-compatible with their predecessors, the Motorola 68HC05. Like all Motorola processors that share lineage from the 6800, they use the von Neumann architecture as well as memory-mapped I/O. This family has five CPU registers that are not part of the memory. One 8-bit accumulator A, a 16-bit index register H:X, a 16-bit stack pointer SP, a 16-bit program counter PC, and an 8-bit condition code register CCR. Some instructions refer to the different bytes in the H:X index register independently.
Among the HC08's there are dozens of processor families, each targeted to different embedded applications. Features and capabilities vary widely, from 8 to 64-pin processors, from LIN connectivity to USB 1.1. A typical and general purpose device from the HC08 family of units is the microcontroller M68HC908GP32.
The Freescale RS08 core is a simplified, "reduced-resource" version of the HC08.
The Freescale HCS08 core is the next generation of the same processors.Freescale 68HC12
The 68HC12 (6812 or HC12 for short) is a microcontroller family from Freescale Semiconductor. Originally introduced in the mid-1990s, the architecture is an enhancement of the Freescale 68HC11. Programs written for the HC11 are usually compatible with the HC12, which has a few extra instructions. The first 68HC12 derivatives had a maximum bus speed of 8 MHz and flash memory sizes up to 128 KB.Freescale 68HC16
The 68HC16 (also abbreviated as HC16) is a highly modular microcontroller family based on the CPU16 16-bit core made by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly known as Motorola Semiconductor). The CPU16 core is a true 16-bit design, with an architecture that is very familiar to 68HC11 (HC11) users. The resemblances to the HC11 core design are a deliberate move to provide
an upgrade path for those 8-bit 68HC11 designs that require the increased power of a 16-bit CPU. Many features of the HC16 and the
CPU16 core are new to HC11 users.
The HC16 provides a software upgrade path for HC11 users while giving full hardware compatibility with the asynchronous address and data bus found on the 32-bit microprocessors.ITFET
The inverted-T field-effect transistor (ITFET) is a type of field effect transistor invented by Leo Mathew at Freescale Semiconductor. Part of the device extends vertically from the horizontal plane in an inverted T shape, hence the name.LTIB
Linux Target Image Builder (LTIB) is an open-source project based on RPM, Menuconfig and Perl. LTIB is similar in concept to Buildroot and other Linux file system builders. LTIB can develop and deploy BSPs for various target platforms. One can develop a Linux image for his or her specific target. The project was initially sponsored by Freescale Semiconductor and later moved to Savannah.MPC5xx
The MPC5xx family of processors such as the MPC555 and MPC565 are 32-bit PowerPC embedded microprocessors that operate between 40 and 66 MHz and are frequently used in automotive applications including engine and transmission controllers. Delphi Corporation use either the MPC561 or MPC565 in the engine controllers they supply to General Motors, with nearly all 2009 model GM North America vehicles now using an MPC5xx in the engine controller. Bosch also used the MPC5xx throughout the EDC-16 series of Diesel Engine Controllers as did the Cummins B series diesel engine ECU.
They are generally considered microcontrollers because of their integrated peripheral set and their unusual architecture: no MMU, large on-chip SRAM and very large (as much as 1 MB) low latency access on-chip flash memories, which means their architecture is tailored to control applications. Instead of a block-address translation and a hardware-driven, fixed-page address translation prescribed by the first PowerPC specification, the 5xx cores provided a software-driven translation mechanism that supported variable page sizes. This model is the basis for the embedded MMU model in the current Power ISA specification.
MPC5xx – All PowerPC 5xx family processors share this common naming scheme.
The development of the PowerPC 5xx family is discontinued in favour for the more flexible and powerful PowerPC 55xx family.Motorola 56000
The Motorola DSP56000 (also known as 56K) is a family of digital signal processor (DSP) chips produced by Motorola Semiconductor (later known as Freescale Semiconductor, now acquired by NXP) starting in 1986 and is still being produced in more advanced models in the 2010s. The 56k series was quite popular for a time in a number of computers, including the NeXT, Atari Falcon030 and SGI Indigo workstations all using the 56001. Upgraded 56k versions are still used today in audio equipment, radars, communications devices (like mobile phones) and various other embedded DSP applications. The 56000 was also used as the basis for the updated 96000, which was not commercially successful.Motorola 68HC05
The 68HC05 (HC05 in short) is a broad family of 8-bit microcontrollers from Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor).
Like all Motorola processors that share lineage from the 6800, they use the von Neumann architecture as well as memory-mapped I/O. This family has five CPU registers that are not part of the memory: an 8-bit accumulator A, an 8-bit index register X, an 8-bit stack pointer SP with two most significant bits hardwired to 1, a 13-bit program counter PC, and an 8-bit condition code register CCR.
Among the HC05's there are several processor families, each targeted to different embedded applications.
The 68HC05 family broke ground with the introduction of the EEPROM-based MC68HC805C4 and MC68HC805B6 variants in the late 1980s. Using a serial bootloader, they could be programmed in-circuit with simple software running on a PC and a low current 19V supply (no programmer required).
The HC05 series is now considered legacy and is replaced by the HC(S)08 MCU series.NXP ColdFire
The NXP ColdFire is a microprocessor that derives from the Motorola 68000 family architecture, manufactured for embedded systems development by NXP Semiconductors. It was formerly manufactured by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly the semiconductor division of Motorola) which merged with NXP in 2015.NXP Semiconductors
NXP Semiconductors N.V. is a Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The company employs approximately 31,000 people in more than 35 countries, including 11,200 engineers in 33 countries. NXP reported revenue of $6.1 billion in 2015, including one month of revenue contribution from recently merged Freescale Semiconductor.On October 27, 2016, it was announced that Qualcomm would try to buy NXP, but because the Chinese merger authority did not approve the acquisition before the deadline set by Qualcomm, it was effectively canceled on 26 July 2018.Philips 68070
The SCC68070 is a Philips Semiconductors-branded, Motorola 68000-based 16/32-bit processor produced under license. While marketed externally as a high-performance microcontroller, it has been almost exclusively used combined with the Philips SCC66470 VSC (Video- and Systems Controller) in the Philips CD-i interactive entertainment product line.
Additions to the Motorola 68000 core include:
Operation from 4 - 17.5 MHz
Inclusion of a minimal, segmented MMU supporting up to 16 MB of memory
Built-in DMA controller
I²C bus controller
16-bit counter/timer unit
2 match/count/capture registers allowing the implementation of a pulse generator, event counter or reference timer
Clock generatorDifferences from the Motorola 68000 core include these:
Instruction execution timing is completely different
Interrupt handling has been simplified
The SCC68070 has MC68010 style bus-error recovery. They are not compatible, so exception error processing is different.
The SCC68070 lacks a dedicated address generation unit (AGU), so operations requiring address calculation run slower due to contention with the shared ALU. This means that most instructions take more cycles to execute, for some instructions significantly more, than a 68000.
The MMU is not compatible with the Motorola 68451 or any other "standard" Motorola MMU, so operating system code dealing with memory protection and address translation is not generally portable. Enabling the MMU also cost a wait state on each memory access.While the SCC68070 is mostly binary compatible with the Motorola 68000, there is no equivalent chip in the Motorola 680x0 series. In particular, the SCC68070 is not a follow-on to the Motorola 68060.
Even though the SCC68070 is a 32-bit processor internally, it has a 24-bit address bus, giving it a theoretical 16MB maximum RAM. However, this is not possible, as all of the on-board peripherals are mapped internally.PowerPC e5500
The PowerPC e5500 is a 64-bit Power Architecture-based microprocessor core from Freescale Semiconductor. The core implements most of the core of the Power ISA v.2.06 with hypervisor support, but not AltiVec. It has a four issue, seven-stage out-of-order pipeline with a double precision FPU, three Integer units, 32/32 KB data and instruction L1 caches, 512 KB private L2 cache per core and up to 2 MB shared L3 cache. Speeds range up to 2.5 GHz, and the core is designed to be highly configurable via the CoreNet fabric and meet the specific needs of embedded applications with features like multi-core operation and interface for auxiliary application processing units (APU).PowerPC e6500
The PowerPC e6500 is a multithreaded 64-bit Power Architecture-based microprocessor core from Freescale Semiconductor (now part of NXP). e6500 will power the entire range of QorIQ AMP Series system on a chip (SoC) processors which share the common naming scheme: "Txxxx". Hard samples, manufactured on a 28 nm process, available in early 2012 with full production later in 2012.PowerPlant
PowerPlant is an object-oriented GUI toolkit, application framework and set of class libraries for the Classic Mac OS, created by Metrowerks. The framework was fairly popular during the late (OS versions 8 and 9) Classic Mac OS era, and was primarily used with CodeWarrior. It was designed to work with a GUI editor called Constructor, which was primarily a resource editor specializing in UI elements. Constructor used several custom resource types, 'PPob' ("PowerPlant object"—a general view description), 'CTYP' (custom widgets), and Mcmd (used for dispatching menu-related events).
After Metrowerks was acquired by Motorola, then spun out as part of Freescale Semiconductor, PowerPlant and the rest of the CodeWarrior desktop development tools were discontinued. In February 2006, the PowerPlant class libraries were released as open source under the BSD license hosted on SourceForge. Although it could theoretically be recompiled for x86-64 Macs, it is Carbon-dependent and therefore can be used in 32-bit mode only.
During its heyday from the mid-1990s until the early 2000s, PowerPlant was the most popular framework available for Mac programmers, replacing both the THINK Class Library and MacApp as the premier object-oriented toolkit for the MacOS; however, the transition to OS X was rather difficult for many PowerPlant programmers. A new version, PowerPlant X, was introduced in 2004 as a native Carbon framework, using Carbon Events but never became as popular on Mac OS X as PowerPlant had been on Classic Mac OS.Qorivva
Qorivva is a line of Power Architecture-based microcontrollers from Freescale built around one or more Power Architecture e200 cores. Within this line are a number of products specifically targeted for Functional Safety applications. The hardware-based fault detection and correction features found within this line include dual cores that may run in lock-step, full path ECC, automated self-testing of memory and logic, peripheral redundancy, and monitor/checker cores.RAD5500
The RAD5500 is a radiation-hardened 64-bit multi-core processor platform manufactured by BAE Systems Electronics, Intelligence & Support with Power Architecture-based technologies from IBM and Freescale Semiconductor. Successor of the RAD750, the RAD5500 processor platform is for use in high radiation environments experienced on board satellites and spacecraft.
The RAD5500 platform supports VPX high speed connectors, DDR2/DDR3 memory, serialize/deserialize (SerDes), and SpaceWire IO.Vybrid Series
The Vybrid Series is a low power System on chip from Freescale Semiconductor with ARM® Cortex™-A5 and optional Cortex™-M4 cores. The full featured VF6xx comes with asymmetrical multiprocessing using both cores. Lower cost alternative such as the VF5xx and VF3xx only support the ARM Cortex-A5. The ARM Cortex-A5 cores run from 266 MHz to 500 MHz depending on package options and ARM Cortex-M4 Cores at 168 MHz if present.