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What is the most popular microcontroller?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Alan Perry, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Alan Perry

    Alan Perry Guest

    I have used PIC's and want to try some thing else.

    My first thought was to see which microcontrollers sold the most in
    (future employment considerations etc...)

    But guess what? you have to pay $1000 for the privilege.

    This leads me to 3 questions.

    Q1 where can I find this for free? ( I still would like to know , but
    I am not $1000 interested)

    Q2 What are essential items in a MCU for ease of design and debug
    (UARTS etc)

    Q3 What items are on the wish list (but not essential)
    Alan Perry, Mar 4, 2004
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  2. You might be able to find some kind of survey in a trade magazine. The
    information probably all comes from Dataquest. The results are open to
    much interpretation, and the expensive reports are probably unsuitable
    for your purposes anyhow.
    If you want to learn another popular 8-bit microcontroller
    architecture, you could look at 8051s and 6805/HC08s, but why not
    learn a 16 or 32-bit architecture? Or something lower end?

    You might find that there are huge volumes of certain squirrely little
    Asian microcontrollers sold (though I don't think Dataquest gathers
    this info), but there are only a small number of potential customers
    because they sneer at orders <50k pcs.

    If you're really into marketability, you might want to search job ads
    by microcontroller type and look at the pay rates for them rather than
    comparing microcontroller A with a zillion low-paying small companies
    using it vs. microcontroller and a certain volume sold with
    microcontroller B with 1/10 the number of better-funded companies
    using them and similar overall volume. And is the volume in dollars or
    units? There are at least a couple of orders of magnitude price
    difference possible between things called microcontrollers.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
    Spehro Pefhany, Mar 4, 2004
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  3. Alan Perry

    Guy Macon Guest

    Who can blame them, when the parts sell for a dime and they make less
    than a penny of profit on each one?

    Those are the kinds I specialize in. Not only do you have to order
    50K masked ROM parts, but often the masked chip doesn't do what the
    emulator did, your development tools are buggy, your datasheets are
    wrong, and you need to speak Chinese to get your questions asked.

    Do a web search on the Sunplus microcontroller compared to the PIC.
    guess which one has higher volume? And Sunplus isn't even the
    biggest player.
    Guy Macon, Mar 4, 2004
  4. Microchip recently shipped their three BILLIONTH PIC - I think that probably counts as 'most
    Mike Harrison, Mar 4, 2004
  5. I suspect that 8051-core microcontroller shipments exceed this number by a
    considerable margin. I do not have proof, however.
    Mark A. Odell, Mar 4, 2004
  6. Actually it seems Hitachi is probably the most popular by the numbers being
    shipped and put into things.
    If it uses a LCD display, for example, it most likely has a Hitachi
    processor in it.
    Hitachi chips are pretty ubiqutous as they are in a lot of things, but
    people don't notice them.
    But that is subjective and subject to interpretation.

    For the future it looks like ARM based processors are the way to go.
    ARM based chips are popping up all over the place in various things.
    For example the newer smaller Phillips 2106 processors can now compete with
    many of the regular MCU's most people are using.

    Other than that it turns into a religious war as to what chip one or another
    person likes or dislikes.
    Like someone else mentioned, there are jillions of 8051 based MCUs still
    being sold and put into things.
    Of course I am quite partial to Atmel AVRs myself.
    Earl Bollinger, Mar 5, 2004
  7. Alan Perry

    Guy Macon Guest

    Not even close. I can't give out actual numbers that my former
    employer was shipping, (nondisclosure agreement), but you can
    take a guess from the following publicly available information:

    Five years ago, 20 percent of Fisher-Price toys had electronics
    in them. Now it's 75 percent.

    Every year 3.8 billion toys are sold.

    My best-selling toy design was selling at 100,000 per day.


    I believe that Winbond, EMC, and Sunplus all ship many more
    units than Hitachi does.
    Guy Macon, Mar 5, 2004
  8. ....
    For Atmel AVR info, check out www.avrfreaks.net
    Comp.arch.embedded ?


    On chip Flash
    On chip EEPROM
    On chip SRAM with a stack
    On chip debug features.
    In system Programming
    Oversized parts (in memory) allowing debug code to be inserted.
    Low power
    Power on reset
    Brown Out detection
    R/C oscillator (calibrated)
    Not only serial, you might want SPI, I2C as well.
    External Interrupt

    to say but a few.
    Birgitta Samuelsson, Mar 7, 2004
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