An abundance of choice
The number of different microcontrollers on offer just keeps on growing. Nearly every single week a new product appears on the market. Choosing the right microcontroller for a particular design is becoming increasingly more difficult. Reason enough to appraise the latest developments. The microcontroller market is mostly dominated by a few ‘heavyweights’ such as Microchip, Atmel and, to a lesser extend, Philips.
In addition, there are many smaller manufacturers who make very interesting developments in this area. There are also a number of manufacturers who are not at all that well known for their microcontroller products, and are often forgotten as a consequence. Names that come to mind are Toshiba with its TMP86xxx-family, and Zilog, the inventor of the famous Z80, who now offers the Z8 Encore! and eZ80 families. Also don’t forget Dallas Semiconductor with its DS89C420, Cypress with its PsoC (Programmable System-on-Chip) such as the CY8C27x, or the, until recently, completely unknown company Cygnal with its C8051xxx.