Silicon Labs Expands MCU Platform with New 8-bit MCU Family

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 14, 2023


Silicon Labs Expands MCU Platform with New 8-bit MCU Family

Silicon Labs has announced the expansion of its microcontroller unit (MCU) development platform with a new family of 8-bit MCUs that the company said are designed to optimize for price and performance.

According to the release, the new MCUs join the PG2x family of 32-bit MCUs in sharing a single development platform, the Silicon Labs Simplicity Studio. That platform includes compilers, integrated development environments, and configurators for full solutions development.

"In today's world, with an ever-expanding list of IoT devices, MCUs play a critical role in embedded computing," said Dhiraj Sogani, Senior Director, Wireless Product Marketing, Silicon Labs. "The new BB5 family of MCUs expands our portfolio to now offer the broadest range of MCU options on the market today."

Silicon Labs said it designed its 8-bit and 32-bit MCU offerings to leverage Simplicity Studio because it can simplify and accelerate the ability of device manufacturers to bring a broad range of devices to market, eliminate the need for developers to learn two sets of tools and enable them to cost-optimize devices by selecting the part that best fits the application's need.

Simplicity Studio is also the development platform for Silicon Labs' portfolio of wireless SoCs, allowing developers to develop once and deploy in multiple product variations regardless of whether some are connected and some are not.

The new BB5 family includes the most powerful 8-bit MCUs on the market, as the 50 MHz core frequency in the BB5 family generates 36 percent more compute power than any other general 8-bit MCU, Silicon Labs said in the announcement. The family is repeatedly ideal for battery-powered applications like power tools, handheld kitchen tools like immersion blenders, and even children's toys. It supports a wide range of voltage options, from 1.8 to 5.5 volts, allowing them to last for years in the field on a coin-cell battery. They also come in a variety of packing sizes, from 2 mm x 2 mm for the BB50 MCU, while the BB51 and BB52 MCUs are 3 mm x 3 mm offering additional GPIOs and increased analog functionality. For certain applications, the 8-bit BB52 even offers greater price-performance than competitive 32-bit MCUs.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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