This article was first issued on Freescale embedded beat blogs ( by Kathleen Jachimiak, product marketing manager for Kinetis microcontrollers.



Remember playing with Rubik’s cubes back in t he 1980s? 2014 actually marks the 40th birthday of this 3D puzzle. It is a simple cube in which each side is made up of nine colored mini-cubes with an objective to somehow rotate it in exactly the correct way so that each side would be one solid color. They provide hours of fun, but are not always easy to figure out. I read online that with six colored sides, 21 pieces and 54 outer surfaces, there’s a combined total of over 43 quintillion different possible configurations. No wonder I failed to ever solve that thing on my own!


The thought of doing the next great engineering design can be equally daunting. And while Kinetis MCUs cannot help you solve the Rubik’s cube (unless of course you use some sort of cube-solving machine like the one shown here), Kinetis MCUs can help you solve today’s- and tomorrow’s- engineering design challenges with a broad portfolio of ARM®-based solutions. Though not quite a quintillion (yet), Freescale is offering close to 1,000 products for customers to choose from.


The Kinetis MCU portfolio is often referred to as the world’s broadest ARM® Cortex®-M-based portfolio. But, what makes a portfolio broad? And is that even a good thing?

A broad portfolio is about providing choices that span the technical limits in terms of low-end and high-end capabilities, and filling all of the gaps in between. It means offering solutions that can enable everything from a swallowable medical device to the electronics within a 5,000-pound truck. The Kinetis MCU portfolio has both general purpose and application-specific devices designed to do just that – meet the various needs of embedded designers while covering a breadth of options for performance, memory, package, integration and price.

General Purpose vs. Application-Specific Devices


The Kinetis MCU portfolio is most easily explained as six (and counting) series of general purpose and application-specific devices. General purpose series, like Kinetis K and Kinetis L series, reach the greatest number of customers, while application-specific series target vertical markets to provide specific integration and support. Within each series is a number of families that further divide the portfolio into various levels of integration and performance.


Kinetis K series MCUs were our first MCUs based on ARM Cortex-M cores and the industry’s first MCUs based on the ARM-Cortex-M4 core. As well, it is called the K series because that is how it all started – K for Kinetis. These devices are known for pushing high performance and various level of integration supporting the broadest range of customers.

Kinetis L series is our ultra- low power series and the industry’s first Cortex-M0+-based MCU. In fact, this series boasts the world’s most energy-efficient ARM-based MCU. It also holds the record as the world’s smallest ARM-based MCU, thanks to Freescale’s wafer-level chip-scale packaging (WLCSP) technology.

Kinetis E series MCUs are about supporting applications in electrically harsh conditions with high EMI and ESD thresholds. They are designed to maintain high robustness and reliability within electrically noisy environments. And in another first, Kinetis E series MCUs were the industry’s first 5V MCUs built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor.

Kinetis V series MCUs are designed for (vector) motor control and digital power conversion applications. This is the most recently introduced series for the Kinetis portfolio, launching in April 2014.

Kinetis M series MCUs are an application-specific series, targeted for metering and measurement applications.

Kinetis W series MCUs are for wireless applications. These Kinetis MCUs are with integrated radio transceivers for 802.15.4 2.4GHz and sub 1-GHz wireless communications.

Scalability and Compatibility: The Secret to Success
It’s not enough to have a lot of parts. To a designer looking for a specific solution, the fact that we have 999 other options is not all that interesting to him/her. The secret to making a broad portfolio successful is scalability and compatibility, and Kinetis MCUs offer both. Providing both pin-to-pin and software compatible options is key for customers wishing to scale up and down the portfolio to address various market segments and tiers of products within those segments. Additionally, Kinetis customers are able to reach faster time to market with common software and hardware tools.


Get more info on the Kinetis MCU portfolio @


Kathleen Jachimiak is a product marketing manager for Kinetis microcontrollers.