Taking the different approach from packing features into a device, STMicroelectronics has launched a 'value line' low cost version of its STM32 microcontroller.
Until now, engineers upgrading legacy 16-bit designs for higher performance and flexibility have had to choose from high-end alternatives that are featured for more complex applications. ST’s new
STM32 Value Line remedies this by combining a 24MHz ARM Cortex-M3 processor core with peripheral features optimized for typical 16-bit applications such as home-entertainment products, appliances, and industrial equipment. At 24MHz with zero wait state embedded Flash memory access, the STM32 Value Line delivers up to 30 DMIPS, outperforming most of the 16-bit processors. The added advantage of its industry-standard processor, available in devices priced under $1, provides access to a large base of development knowledge and tools.
The family also embeds hardware support for the Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) protocol included in the HDMI standard, thereby simplifying CEC implementation in products such as TVs, Blu-ray players, PVRs and home cinema equipment. CEC allows up to 10 HDMI devices to discover each other and communicate to manage user-convenience features such as one-touch control of multiple devices via a single remote. Implementing CEC in hardware also frees the processor core to perform extra high-level functions, thereby adding further value to developers’ applications.
In addition, a 12-bit Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC) allows developers to add audio support in a variety of applications such as security devices or home automation systems, and to address wider opportunities requiring analogue waveform generation and control.
STM32 Value Line links developers into ST’s extensive STM32 family, which now contain five product lines presenting a choice of cost-sensitive, power-sensitive, connectivity-oriented or high-performance microcontrollers. In all, over 110 devices are available, offering a range of features and on-chip memory densities while maintaining pin and software compatibility across all devices. This commonality simplifies strategic processor platform selection by enabling convenient scaling and upgrading of designs, and allowing re-use of intellectual property and development tools to minimize cost and time to market for new products.
The STM32 Value Line microcontrollers are now sampling to lead customers. Volume production will begin from March 2010, at prices from $0.85 for 16Kbyte devices in 48-pin LQFP48 package and $1.44 for 64Kbyte devices in the 64-pin LQFP64 package, for quantities of 10,000 units.