STM microcontrollers bridge voltage domains in mobile smartphones - Embedded.com

STM microcontrollers bridge voltage domains in mobile smartphones

A problem that most mobile smartphones and tablets share with desktop computers is that they are multi-volgage environments in which high perforemance main processors operating at one voltage share the same environment with perhaps half a dozen lower or higher voltage microcontrollers.

But where in a desktop or even a laptop PC there was enough space to incorporate multiple volgage supply environments, the developer does not have the space, or power budget for that luxury. The combination of 1.8V digital supply voltage and independent analog domain is problematic where a wide analog dynamic range is required, or for connecting directly to USB devices.

STMicroelectronics  has just come up with a possible solution to that dilemma: its newest STM32F038/48/58/78 and STM32F318/28/58/78 family of ARM-based microcontrollers., designed to help overcome the challenges designers face when adding a companion chip to a low-voltage host processor.

These focused low-voltage microcontrollers connect to the same digital power domain as the host, such as a 1.8V power supply, while allowing on-chip peripherals to operate from higher voltages such as 3.3V, giving freedom from the usual performance trade-offs that come with lower supply voltages.

Implemented with design partitioning in mind, the STM32F0x8 I/Os allow bridging between different voltages without using level shifters, while the ADC peripheral of STM32F3x8 devices is fully functional down to 1.8V

 The devices also offer a number of processing and memory configurations. STM32F0x8 devices combine the ARM Cortex-M0 core with up to 128Kbyte on-chip Flash, while the STM32F3x8 based on the ARM Cortex-M4 core with DSP instruction set and floating-point unit have up to 512Kbyte.

Extensive pin, peripheral, and software compatibility between the two new low-voltage families, and with the mainstream STM32 F0 and STM32 F3 series, ensure unparalleled design flexibility and scalability.

The low-voltage product lines allow designers to take advantage of the same features as mainstream STM32 F0 and STM32 F3 product series with no compromise or degradation in processing performance when operating at the lower voltage. Moreover, by enabling a simplified hardware implementation, these devices deliver an immediate cost advantage.

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