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STMicro intros M24SR dynamic NFC/RFID tag

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Amit Sethi

Amit Sethi

STMicroelectronics recently introduced the M24SR dynamic NFC/RFID tag.

Speaking about the USP of the M24SR, Amit Sethi, Product Marketing manager – Memories and RFID, STMicroelectronics India, said: “The unique selling proposition of the M24SR product is its two interfaces, giving users and applications the ability to program or read its memory using either an RF NFC interface or a wired I2C interface, in an affordable and easy-to-use device for a wide range of applications such as consumer/home appliance, OTP card, healthcare/wellness and industrial/smart meter.”

Let us see how the M24SR is beneficial for smartphone or any other audio device.

The M24SR is a dynamic NFC/RFID tag that manages the data exchange between the NFC phone and the microcontroller. The main use cases for data exchange are updating user settings, downloading data logs, and remote programming and servicing. The dynamic tag also enables seamless Bluetooth and Wi-Fi pairing, which is useful in, for example, audio devices.

How is the M24SR different from other products of the same segment?

Sethi said that the key difference is the dual interface: the M24SR memory can be accessed either by a low-power 2C interface or

M24SR

M24SR

by an ISO14443A RF interface operating at 13.56MHz. It also features RF status (MCU wake-up) and RF disable functions to minimize power consumption. In addition, the devices support the NFC data exchange format (NDEF from NFC forum) and 128-bit password protection mechanism.

The M24SR series is available in EEPROM memory densities from 2 Kbit to 64 Kbit and three package types: SO8, TSSOP8, and UFDFPN8.

What are the contributions of M24SR toward the Internet of Things?

Accotding to him, the M24SR dynamic NFC/RFID tag interactive and zero power capability, simplifies complex communications setups and enables data exchange among the home automation, wearable electronics, home appliances, smart meter, wellness, etc.

Especially with the NFC capability, the M24SR is ideal for applications waiting for something, like a ticket or ID to launch an activity.

Relevance for India
Finally, what’s the relevance of the product for the Indian market?

Sethi added: “Mobile and NFC based application are gaining its popularity in India. M24SR is an easy-to-use and an affordable product for the Implementation of NFC-based applications in transportation, entertainment, and lifestyle areas.

As for the go-to-market strategy, the M24SR mass market launch is planned for end of February 2014. Some M24SR samples have been delivered to key customers during Q4 2013 and design/development is ongoing.

ST intros STM32F4 series high-performance Cortex-M4 MCUs

September 18, 2013 Comments off

STMicroelectronics has introduced the STM32F4 series STM32 F4x9 and STM32F401, which are high-performance Cortex-M4 microcontrollers (MCUs).

On the growth drivers for GP MCUs, the market growth is driven by faster migration to 32 bit platform. ST has been the first to bring the ARM Cortex based solution, and now targets leadership position on 32bit MCUs. An overview of the STM32 portfolio indicates high-performance MCUs with DSP and FPU up to 608 CoreMark and up to180 MHz/225 DMIPS.

Features of the STM32F4 product lines, specifically, the STM32F429/439, include 180 MHz, 1 to 2-MB Flash and 256-KB SRAM. The low end STM32F401 has features such as 84 MHz, 128-KB to 256-KB Flash and 64-KB SRAM.

The STM32F401 provides thebest balance in performance, power consumption, integration and cost. The STM32F429/439 is providing more resources, more performance and more features. There is close pin-to-pin and software compatibility within the STM32F4
series and STM32 platform.

The STM32 F429-F439 high-performance MCUs with DSP and FPU are:
• World’s highest performance Cortex-M MCU executing from Embedded Flash, Cortex-M4 core with FPU up to 180 MHz/225 DMIPS.
• High integration thanks to ST 90nm process (same platform as F2 serie): up to 2MB Flash/256kB SRAM.
• Advanced connectivity USB OTG, Ethernet, CAN, SDRAM interface, LCD TFT controller.
• Power efficiency, thanks to ST90nm process and voltage scaling.

In terms of providing more performance, the STM32F4 provides up to 180 MHz/225 DMIPS with ART Accelerator, up to 608 CoreMark result, and ARM Cortex-M4 with floating-point unit (FPU).

The STM32F427/429 highlights include:
• 180 MHz/225 DMIPS.
• Dual bank Flash (in both 1-MB and 2-MB), 256kB SRAM.
• SDRAM Interface (up to 32-bit).
• LCD-TFT controller supporting up to SVGA (800×600).
• Better graphic with ST Chrom-ART Accelerator:
– x2 more performance vs. CPU alone
– Offloads the CPU for graphical data generation
* Raw data copy
* Pixel format conversion
* Image blending (image mixing with some transparency).
• 100 μA typ. in Stop mode.

Some real-life examples of the STM32F4 include the smart watch, where it is the main application controller or sensor hub, the smartphone, tablets and monitors, where it is the sensor hub for MEMS and optical touch, and the industrial/home automation panel, where it is the main application controller. These can also be used in Wi-Fi modules for the Internet of Things (IoT), such as appliances, door cameras, home thermostats, etc.

These offer outstanding dynamic power consumption thanks to ST 90nm process, as well as low leakage current made possible by advanced design technics and architecture (voltage scaling). ST is making a large offering of evaluation boards and Discovery kits. The STM32F4 is also offering new firmware libraries. SEGGER and ST signed an agreement around the emWin graphical stack. The solution is called STemWin.

New sapphire apps can trigger an investment cycle!

December 10, 2012 1 comment

Too many new entrants on sapphire for LED market with unrealistic capacity plans. Most underestimated the technical challenges! Prices are likely to remain low through 2013. Many new entrants will fail in 2013-2014: rationalization (M&A, bankruptcy, attrition). In the long term, vertical integration is desirable to avoid margin stacking, said Eric Virey, senior market and technology analyst, LED Materials and Sevices, Yole Developpement. He was presenting a seminar on how new sapphire applications can trigger an investment cycle.

According to him, adoption of CFL and LED stretches the replacement cycle and cannibalizes lamp volume sales. As for LED manufacturing capacity, with respect to nitride MOCVD reactors, 2009 and 2010 saw increases in Taiwan and Korea in late driven by LCD display market. The years 2010-2012 saw phenomenal increase in China. Government subsidies are likely to build up epitaxy capacity in the mainland, which should be more than $1.5 billion.

YoleCurrently there are ~110 companies with epitaxy capacity. Many will likely disappear! The current excess MOCVD capacity will be fully absorbed by mid-2014. The MOCVD reactor installation will resume mid-late 2013. The global MOCVD utilization rate is 61 percent. There is wide variability between leaders and tier 2 players in China. The Q4-2012 LED sapphire consumption was worth 3.9 million two inch equivalent per month.

As for companies in sapphire wafer, 130+ companies are involved in the sapphire substrate (established or development stage). Less than 30 currently are deriving meaningful revenue from LED substrates. The capacity is ~80 percent higher than demand. It could get worse in 2013! Prices are likely to remain low. Many new entrants will disappear, and others will scale back. A few will succeed.

Conditions for survival through 2013 include, having a lot of cash, be qualified in supply chain, achieve <$4/mm cost (2” basis), and serving other market could be a plus. As for wafer price trends, the finished wafers following similar trends. The 6” is now offered for <$200, but price can vary significantly based on specifications. There are said to be simulated 4” core cost structure for various manufacturers.
Read more…

ST launches STM32 F4 series of MCUs

September 22, 2011 5 comments

The STM32 F4 series of MCUs.

The STM32 F4 series of MCUs.

STMicroelectronics has launched the STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), based on the latest ARM Cortex-M4 core. This adds to the signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the portfolio of STM32 MCUs.

The STM32 F4 series brings the world’s highest performance Cortex-M microcontrollers at 168 MHz FCPU/210 DMIPS and 363 Coremark score.

Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager-India, Microcontroller Division, Greater China and South Asia region, STMicroelectronics Marketing Pvt Ltd, said that the series extends the ST’M32 portfolio of 250+ compatible devices already in production, including the F1 series, F2 series and ultra-low-power L1 series, respectively. ST is said to have 45 percent of the market share by units.

The  STM32 F4 series of MCUs are re-inforced on five pillars:
* Real-time performance — 168MHz/210 DMIPS.
* Outstanding power efficiency.
* Superior and innovative peripherals.
* Maximum integration – 1Mbyte Flash, 192 Kbyte SRAM.
* Extensive tools and hardware — CMSIS DSP library, Matlab support, various IDE starter kits, RTOS and stacks.

A Coremark study says that STM32 F4 gives the best acceleration and highest speed. Thapliyal added, “We are ready for the market.” It takes ART to be #1 in performance: It is a combination of core, embedded Flash design, process, acceleration techniques, etc.

ST’s ART Accelerator, an adaptive real-time memory unleashes the Cortex M4 core’s maximum processing performance equal to 0-wait state execution, and Flash upto 168MHz. Real-time performance is the 32-bit multi AHB bus matrix. The layers are independent of each other.

The STM32 F4 series boasts a high-performance digital signal controller. The MCU leads to the ease of use of C programming, interrupt handling and ultra-low power. The FPU facilitates single precision, ease of use, better code efficiency, faster time to market, eliminates scaling and saturation, and easier support for meta-language tools. The DSP is based on Harvard architecture, single-cycle MAC and barrel shifter.

It also boasts of an outstanding power efficiency.  The 230 μA/MHz, 38.6 mA at 168 MHz executing Coremark benchmark from Flash memory (with peripherals off), has been made possible with:
* ST’s 90nm process allowing the CPU core to run at only 1.2 V.
* ART Accelerator reducing the number of accesses to Flash.
* Voltage scaling to optimize performance/power consumption.
* VDD min down to 1.7 V.
* Low-power modes with backup SRAM and RTC support.

The low power in real-life applications is not just low-power mode. There is also a need to consider the percentage of time spend in low-power (LP) mode and in Run mode. If competitors are claiming better low-power modes, these are only an advantage if the overall system is spending more than 90 percent of the time doing nothing in low-power mode.

Superior and innovative peripherals includes, among others, two USB OTGs, two full duplexes PWMs at 168MHz, ADC at 2.4MSPS.

As for maximum integration, the 1-Mbyte Flash and 192-Kbyte SRAM memories available in the product accommodate advanced software stacks and user data, with no need for external memories. The 4-Kbyte SRAM battery back-up is used to save the application state and calibration data (SRAM block used as an EEPROM). In addition, the 528 bytes of OTP memory make it possible to store critical user data, such as the Ethernet MAC addresses or cryptographic keys. Read more…

ST intros STM32L ultra-low-power Cortex‑M3 devices

March 3, 2011 Comments off

STM32L ultra-low-power Cortex‑M3 devices.

STM32L ultra-low-power Cortex‑M3 devices.

STMicroelectronics has introduced the STM32L advanced ultra-low-power Cortex-M3 based MCU platform.

Built on cutting-edge proprietary process – robustness, it is part of a wide 32-bit product portfolio. The MCU platform is based on the just-enough energy concept and has an all inclusive package applications.

STM32L 32- to 128-Kbyte products are entering full production in the second half of March 2011. It is part of the industry’s largest ARM Cortex-M 32-bit microcontroller family with six STM32 families. STMicroelectronics is developing the STM32L portfolio up to 384 Kbytes of embedded memory. The STM32L is also Continua ready for its USB peripheral driver.

STM32L’s robustness has been derived from an automotive qualified process. It is all inclusive for ultra-low-power applications, and comes with hardware integrated features and software library packages. STM32L also has a ‘just-enough energy concept’, which includes undervolting, user controlled and an innovative architecture, all of this for less than 1 µA.

ST’s ultra-low-power EnergyLite platform features ST’s 130nm ultra-low-leakage process technology. It makes use of shared technology, architecture and peripherals. The company’s ultra-low-power portfolio for 2011 will be in production second half of March 2011. Many others will also be in production in the second half of April 2011. In fact, there will be over 100 part numbers from 4- to 384-Kbyte flash, and from 20 to 144 pins.

STM32L is based on ultra-low-power architecture, which is all inclusive for ultra low power applications. It also features ultra-low voltage, with power supply down to 1.8 V with BOR and also down to 1.65 V without BOR.The analog functional can be down to 1.8 V and the reprogramming capability can be down to 1.65 V.

STM32L is also flexible and secure, featuring +/- 0.5 percent internal clock accuracy when trimmed by RTC oscillator. It has up to five clock sources and has the MSI to achieve very low power consumption at seven low frequencies.

It also feattures dynamic voltage scaling in Run mode. The voltage scaling optimizes the product efficiency. User selects a mode (voltage scaling) according to external VDD supply, DMIPS performance required and maximum power consumption. It features the energy saving mode as well, down to 171 µA/DMIPS from Flash in Run mode. Read more…

STMicroelectronics unveils STM32 F-2 series of MCUs

December 1, 2010 Comments off

STM32 F-2 block diagram.

STM32 F-2 block diagram.

STMicroelectronics has unveiled its roadmap for ARM Cortex-M4 and -M0 with products sampling from mid 2011 onward and production by end of 2011. It has also unleashed the full performance of the Cortex-M3 with its latest STM32 F-2 series.

According to Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager, MCU, STMicroelectronics, India, there are over 30 new part numbers, pin-to-pin and software compatible with existing STM32 devices.

He said: “Today, we already have 110 parts running for the F-1 series, which is currently existing and in full production. Now, we are extending the family. This time, we have launched the F-2 family — the highest performance family — to unleash the ultimate performance of Cortex-M3.” Naturally, the F-2 series is benefiting the existing F-1 devices.

As mentioned, 30 new devices will be launched. They are already ramping now. “All of these belong to the high-performance, low-power family. We will also be revealing our roadmap for M4 and M0 — to be  in production by end of 2011, with sampling by middle of 2011.”

ST’s F-2 series will further enhance real time preformance. Thapliyal added that ST has built in ART accelerator into these devices. This will deliver 150 DMIPS (Dhrystone MIPS) at 120MHz.

The adaptive real-time memory accelerator unleashes the Cortex-M3 core’s maximum processing performance equivalent to 0-wait state execution Flash up to 120 MHz.

The ART accelerator is a pre-fetch queue and branch cache mechanism that stores the first instructions and constants of the branches, interrupt and subroutine calls. The penalty occurs the first time those events occur like for any pipelining mechanism.

After that, the instructions stored in cache are pushed immediately in the pref-etch queue upon recognition of a stored branch address. In addition, the embedded Flash is organized in 128-bit rows, allowing up to 8 (16-bit) instructions to be read per access. Read more…

ST intros STM32L EnergyLite ultra-low-power MCUs for portable and very low power apps

May 3, 2010 Comments off

STMicroelectronics' STM32L EnergyLite ultra-low-power MCUs.

STMicroelectronics' STM32L EnergyLite ultra-low-power MCUs.

STMicroelectronics recently launched the STM32L EnergyLite ultra-low-power MCUs. I caught up with Vinay Thapiyal, technical marketing manager, MCU’s, ST India, to learn more.

The highlights of this series of MCUs include a commitment for ultra-low power — the EnergyLite platform is common for 8-bit (STM8L) and 32-bit (STM32L) MCUs. Also, it is strong on pure energy efficiency, with high performance combined with ultra low power, i.e., high high energy saving.  Finally, the ultra low power member in STM32 portfolio enriches both the STM32 ultra-low-power EnergyLite platform and the STM32 portfolio.

According to Thapliyal, STMicroelectronics has been involved in the MCU market for a long time. Off late, it has started focusing on the STM32 — the ARM Cortex based MCU and the STM8 — for 8-bit family. “We have started converging our old families into these two domains,” he added.

The STM32F is the foundation of the STM32 family. STM32F is a family of low power MCUs based on the 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 architecture.

The STM8 is a family of MCUs based on ST’s propritetary atchitecture. The STM32L is STMicroelectronics’ ultra low power family mainly used for portable and very low power applications.

The ultra-low-power EnergyLite platform, featuring the STM32L and the STM8L is based on STMicroelectronics’ 130 nm ultra-low-leakage process technology. They share common technology, architecture and peripherals. The STM8, which was launched in 2009, has caught on very fast. It is a high performance, low cost MCU.

He added that STMicroelectronics started with 130nm technology, and low pin count and low flash on STM8, while higher memory and high pin count is available on the STM32. Read more…

India major destination for solar/PV investments!

November 10, 2009 2 comments

“Green energy is the order of the day,” stated K. Rosaiah, Hon’ble chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. “It is the responsibility of every country and every citizen to see that our dependence on conventional energy can be reduced to the extent possible, and to focus our efforts on the development of renewable energy sources.”

He was speaking at the ongoing Solarcon India 2009, a three-day exhibition and conference organized by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), in association with Intersolar, and in partnership with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and FabCity.

According to him, a sizeable gap exists between the demand and supply of energy. Solar energy becomes critical in the context of climate change and global warming. The Prime Minister had launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008.

The Solar Mission Plan, to be announced on November 14, aims to achieve 20GW of solar generation capacity by 2020. There are plans to deliver on the creation of 1 lakh new jobs during the course of the plan.

“At present, solar energy was high on absolute costs compared to other sources of power. The Solar Mission would definitely drive the cost as rapidly as possible,” the chief minister said.

He added that Solarcon India had attracted 67 exhibitors from 16 countries, and over 400 delegates. This will be an annual event from now on, to showcase FabCity and SolarCity initiatives of the state government.

Now, it is time for India!
Earlier, delivering the welcome address, BV Naidu, chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA) said that the Solarcon India 2009 was happening at the right time and at the right place. “We have heard the success stories in the USA, Japan, Germany, etc. Now, it is time for India!”

He added that Andhra Pradesh had leap frogged in solar PV, and hence, this event was being held in Hyderabad. Also, FabCity has taken the lead in managing to attract manufacturing. Among the 15 proposals on solar PV received by government of India under the semiconductor policy, five proposals have been submitted by companies located in Andhra Pradesh. According to him, Andhra Pradesh had the capability to take on at least 20 percent target of the solar mission plan, given the kind of leadership the state has shown so far.

Naidu further advised that Andhra Pradesh was also going to host the Fraunhofer ISE, which will be set up here. Prof. Eicke R Weber, director, Fraunhofer Institute, will be signing the MoU to set up the institute in India. Read more…

STMicro on corporate responsibility — Part 2

August 16, 2009 Comments off

Friends, here’s the second and concluding part of my discussion with Vivek Sharma, Director, India Design Center, and Vice President, Emerging Market Regions, STMicroelectronics.

Here, we have discussed how the company’s corporate social responsibility has helped ST reduce greenhouse gases/reducing carbon footprint/CO2 emissions, handling e-waste and chemicals, and the company’s success in developing ‘greener and cleaner’ supply chains.

Reducing greenhouse gases, etc.
First, How has this initiative helped reduce greenhouse gases/reducing carbon footprint/CO2 emissions?

Sharma said: “This Initiative has helped us in reducing greenhouse gases/ reducing carbon foot print/CO2 emissions. Although the semiconductor industry makes a relatively small contribution to climate change compared to many other industries, ST integrated a formal, structured approach to reducing its environmental footprint in the early 1990s.

“Working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) at that time helped us to define the areas for action and improvement relating to CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases (GHG); we called the resulting 10-part plan our ‘Environmental Decalogue’.

“Some of the key strategies are constant dedication to reducing our own environmental impact by reducing our consumption of resources such as energy and water and our net emissions of greenhouse gases, working with our suppliers and other stakeholders to share our vast experience and encourage best practices, developing advanced devices that minimize the power consumed in electronic equipment.

“Power-conscious design has two aspects: reduction of energy consumption in the chip itself and contribution to energy saving in the end application, such as home appliances or lighting.” Read more…

STMicroelectronics on corporate responsibility — part 1

August 16, 2009 Comments off

STMicroelectronics recently launched its Corporate Social Responsibility Report — said to be the first of its kind. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Vivek Sharma, Director, India Design Center, and Vice President, Emerging Market Regions, and find out more about this report. Here’s what he had to say:

ST’s concept of sustainable excellence
Corporate Social Responsibility has been the core belief for STMicroelectronics since its inception. In fact, STMicroelectronics is one of the first global industrial companies to recognize the importance of environmental responsibility and has won many awards for its pioneering work in this field.

The Company played a leading role in demonstrating that ‘Green is Black’ i.e. that environmental responsibility delivers real financial benefits and these goals are not in contradiction to each other. For building a culture on this core belief, all levels in an organization have not only to be involved, but also to ensure their commitment as well.

This was given a communicatble & practical shape when corporation adopted TQM principles in early nineties and its concepts, processes and practices were cascaded to all levels of whole enterprise. Soon after, company published its first ‘Environmental Decalogue’ in 1994 followed by another wave of TQEM.

In this journey, the company has continually widened the scope of its definition of corporate responsibility and increasingly formalized both the deployment of its principles within the company and the reporting of the results to stakeholders to ensure that it remains at the forefront of Corporate Responsibility.

ST’s Sustainable Excellence program was launched in 2007 to revamp the same core belief and to embed Corporate Responsibility into every level of the Company’s activities. The term reflects ST’s firm belief in its ability to balance stakeholders’ expectations to make the Company ‘sustainable’ – successful now and in the future – in the short and long term and enable it to contribute to sustainable development at a global level. This progam is based on three key principals i.e. Integrity, People and Excellence which captures the essence of it.

Why such a report now?
What’s the need for such a report at this point of time? That’s the obvious question!

Sharma said: “It is an annual report through which we intend to give an overview of our Corporate Responsibility strategy, our achievements at company and local levels and a description of the challenges we face in all areas of corporate responsibility such as environment, employee well-being, community involvement, and product responsibility while also demonstrating strong performance in aspects that are becoming increasingly important to stakeholders. This is a testimony to our commitment to CSR and it reports the progress track record on various fronts, hence demonstrating our accountability. Read more…

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