The Atmel XMega family of 8-bit microcontroller is perfect for low power products.

It is a very cost effective option, available with invaluable supporting software such as a comprehensive peripheral driver library.

Benefits of the Atmel AVR are vast but a few significant features are:

●    Current consumption can be reduced down to 100nA in low power mode, guaranteeing extended battery life
●    The Event System makes them particularly suited for real-time applications, as it offloads timing based events from the CPU
●    Built-in peripherals such as USB interface, LCD driver and the usual serial interfaces (USART, SPI, I2C) help further reduce hardware budget
●    Compatibility across Atmel 8-bit microcontrollers makes porting a relatively pain-free process when memory requirements increase during software development

At Bluefruit, we have recently developed firmware for a smart thermostat product which was fraught with complex power management and connectivity requirements.

We used the IAR Embedded Workbench along with the IAR AVR tool suite, generating speed- and size-optimized code.

This is particularly beneficial for tight budget applications where a cheaper part with less flash memory can be used thanks to compiler and linker optimizations.