Introducing the next-generation of 8-bit megaAVR MCUs

Since its initial launch in 2002, megaAVR microcontrollers (MCUs) have become the go-to choice of Makers everywhere. Ranging from the uber-popular ATmega328 to ATmega32U4, the chips can be found at the heart of millions of gadgets and gizmos, including an entire lineup of Arduino boards, 3D printers like RepRap and MakerBot, and innovative DIY platforms such as littleBits, Bare Conductive and MaKey MaKey. Heck, they’ve even captured the hearts of celebrity creator Sir Mix-A-Lot!

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Designed for engineers of all levels from the professional developers to the Maker community, the 8-bit megaAVR MCUs are ideal for applications in a variety of markets — automotive, industrial, consumer and white goods.

Today, we are excited to announce the next generation of this incredibly-popular family, with the debut of new 8-bit megaAVR MCUs. Spanning from 4KB to 16KB Flash memory, the new devices provide next-generation enhancements including additional analog functionality and features for the latest low-power consumer, industrial, white goods and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

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This expansion of megaAVR family will deliver all the benefits of previous generations including a simple, easy-to-use interface for a seamless upgrade and binary compatibility with existing 8-bit megaAVR MCUs.

“With over 20 years of MCU experience, we are proud to launch our third generation of 8-bit megaAVR MCUs to the market today—a family that has been highly recognized by a variety of communities from the professional designers using our Atmel Studio ecosystem to the hobbyist and Maker in the AVR Freaks and Arduino communities,” explained Oyvind Strom, Atmel Senior Marketing Director. “As the leader in the 8-bit MCU market, Atmel continues to add easy-to-use, innovative products to our broad portfolio of MCUs.”

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Key features of megaAVR MCUs include:

  • Simple, easy-to-use
  • Low power
  • Wide selection of development tools including free Atmel Studio IDE
  • Extensive set of peripherals, including ADC, Analog Comparator, SPI, I2C and USART
  • Single-cycle instructions running 1MIPS per MHz
  • Designed for high-level languages with minimal code space
  • Real-time performance with single cycle I/O access

Among a number of other new attributes:

  • Unique ID for every device enabling a more secure device for IoT applications and wireless networks
  • Improved accuracy of internal oscillators for UART serial communications
  • Enhanced accuracy of internal voltage reference for better analog-to-digital conversion results

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Makers seeking to accelerate their design are encouraged to check out our ultra-low cost Xplained Mini development platform, which is currently available for only $8.88 USD (see what we did there?) in the Atmel Store and fully compatible with 8-bit megaAVR MCUs. The new boards can easily be connected to any Arduino board making it ideal for a variety of projects and prototypes using an Arduino board.

The megaAVR 8-bit MCUs are fully supported by Atmel’s development eco-system including Atmel Studio 6.2, the integrated development environment (IDE) for developing and debugging Atmel | SMART Cortex-M and Atmel AVR MCU-based applications. Atmel Studio 6.2 gives designers a seamless and easy-to-use environment to write, build, simulate, program and debug their applications to write, build, simulate, program and debug your applications written in C/C++ or assembly code using the integrated GCC compiler and AVR assembler. With Atmel’s broad portfolio of AVR products and easy-to-use development software, designers can quickly bring their 8-bit MCU to market. Additionally, designers have access to the company’s embedded software including the Atmel Software Framework and application notes, and the Atmel Gallery app store.

Currently on display at Electronica 2014, the Atmel mega168PB, mega88PB and mega48PB are now available in 32-pin QFN and QFP packages with additional devices slated for later this year. All devices are sampling now. Production quantities for the mega168PB devices are available now while the mega88PB and ATmega48PB devices will be available in February 2015.

Want to explore the AVR microcontrollers a bit further? Head on over to the official page. Those wishing to learn more about the backstory and inspiration of the Maker Movement’s favorite 8-bit MCU can do so from the co-inventor himself here.

2 thoughts on “Introducing the next-generation of 8-bit megaAVR MCUs

  1. Gregor Ottmann

    It’s a pity – shiny new controllers that are perfect for makers and hobbyists, but they are only available as SMD parts and thus incompatible with breadboards and perfboards. Sure, one can solder those chips on some kind of breakout board, but that increases the part’s footprint dramatically and makes it impossible to get the capacitors really close to the power pins.

    I hope that my suppliers will have the trusty ATmega328 and ATtiny4313 in stock for a long time. And I’ll buy some while they are still available.

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  2. Pingback: Rewind: Must-know news, releases and more from 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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