I was wondering if anyone here knows of any products that utilize the ATtiny85. It appears to me that it's solely used by makers/electronics enthusiasts. I'm asking because I think it would be interesting to see to what products its limited IO and storage can be applied. Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask a question like this - I couldn't find a more applicable SE site.
The answer is yes.
Is that surprising?
Because Atmel can't care at all about a couple thousand hobbyists buying a couple thousand low-cost chips per month. What they aim at with low-cost chip is mass-produced low-cost devices, selling millions of chips instead. Most products in this world need some microcontroller logic, but not much. You really don't need much IO or RAM to make a microwave oven beep. Or to control the charging in a electric toothbrush. Or to set up the sequence in which to start the power supplies inside a complex product¹.
Of course the hobbyist market creates visibility and allows to sell a couple products that are profitable in small numbers; but really, in the greater scheme of things, hobbyists can't sustain a large semiconductor manufacturer.
¹ fun fact, doing power sequencing is something very often done by a microcontroller reserved for that purpose only – you just can't turn on your complex main MCU before power runs. And that's pretty much the upper limit of what an Attiny85 can do – a bit of I²C and a bit of voltage/ADC math, and the memory's full. With a well-known environment to rapidly write down the firmware for that, plus competetive prices, especially for the non-DIP form factors, why not go ATTiny? I hate 'em, personally, but if you're more used to Atmel than to 8051...
Is the ATtiny85 actually used in any consumer electronics?
It appears to me that it's solely used by makers/electronics enthusiasts.
Outside of consumer electronics and enthusiasts markets, there is a huge universe out there. The fact you only see them in one tiny segment doesn't mean they aren't used in other places. I have used them to process buttons, and as data aggregators in industrial control projects.
The ATTINY85 is used in Dame Product's flagship FIN product...
It handles the user interaction, motor control, and battery monitoring.
The A/D converter, internal voltage reference, extremely low power sleep with wake on pin, and ability to direct drive LEDs, small physical size, wide supply voltage range, deep & wide supply chain availability, and low cost make it perfect for products like this.
I had to repair an automatic car battery tender (Car battery tender) and it had an ATtiny in an 8-pin package - I can't remember which family member.
I'm sure they, and similar devices, are used in billions of products these days wherever a small amount of control or intelligence is required; remote controls, thermostats etc. The market for those far outweighs that of hobbyists.
Its capabilities are limited but it is very cheap to build into a product.