RIP Atmel SAM Microcontrollers


It has been almost two years now since Microchip acquired Atmel and I've been waiting to see what Microchip would do with the SAM series. It looks like Microchip has killed off any hope of Atmel peripherals surviving in future SAM parts. New SAM parts like the ATSAMC2x, ATSAMD5x and ATSAME5x that have launched since Atmel's acquisition all have "PIC32ish" peripherals. Microchip basically took a PIC32, chopped out the MIPS core and replaced it with some variant of an ARM Cortex-M. Even the ROMed SAM-BA bootloader has been removed.

The other big change that Microchip has introduced is their documentation style in the datasheets. One of the reasons why I was such a big Atmel fan was because of the good quality documentation and clear peripheral user interface. If I want to use these Microchip SAM parts, I will have to suffer through the sub-par peripheral user interface and muddled documentation. I'm not a developer who uses these supplied peripheral libraries. I find they make your code bigger and never really do exactly what you want anyway. And really, all the fun in microcontrol land is interacting with the hardware....making your code dance on it.

The positive side of things is that Microchip rarely EOLs a part, so the original Atmel parts should be around for a long time. The sales rep we spoke with at my daytime job also confirmed this.

Atmel and Microchip are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated.

Author : DrWho
Feb 1, 2018