STMicroelectronics launches a new series of microprocessors for IoT and applications …

STMicroelectronics has announced a new series of MPUs for IoT and IIoT (Industrial IoT) applications.

The STMicroelectronics multi-core STM32MP1 family joins the company’s STM32 MCU portfolio and uses the company’s extensive OpenSTLinux distribution.

Image modified from STMicroelectronics

The STM32MP1 multi-core microprocessor series is intended to facilitate the development of high-performance solutions for industrial, consumer, smart home and healthcare applications. The new MPUs are covered by ST’s “10-year longevity commitment,” a program designed to build trust with designers that the company will provide long-term support for its products.

The STM32MP1 uses the familiar STM32 architecture that combines the Arm Cortex-A and Cortex-M cores. By stopping the execution of Cortex-A7 and running only from the most efficient Cortex-M4, the power can generally be reduced to 25%. From this mode, standby mode further reduces power use to a thrifty 36 µW.

There is also a VBAT mode that draws a meager 4.5 µW. The units incorporate a large set of peripherals as well as a 3D graphics processor (GPU) unit to support HMI (Human Machine Interface) displays. Furthermore, a wide range of external DDR, SDRAM and flash memories can be supported.

Available versions of the STM32MP1 series

There are three different lines on the STM32MP1. Each has a 209 MHz Cortex-M4 core.

  • STM32MP151 650 MHz Single Cortex-A7 cores
  • STM32MP153 650 MHz Dual Cortex-A7 cores and CAN FD
  • STM32MP157 650MHz Dual Cortex-A7 cores, 3D GPU, DSI and CAN FD display interface

Versions of the STM32MP1. Image by STMicro

In large part due to the fact that this new series of microprocessors joins a well-established family, there is an unusually large set of development tools available.

STM32Cube Tools

The STM32Cube tools have been developed from the STM32Cube package. The STM32CubeMX is a graphical tool that allows easy configuration of devices and fast generation of the corresponding initialization C code.

The STM32CubeMX. Image by STMicro

Evaluation Boards and Discovery Kits

Available with the intention of speeding up the product selection process and time-to-market, STMicro plans to make the following boards and kits available by April 2019:

Evaluation boards:

Discovery Kits:

Developer software packages

Three packages are available to help designers, too:

Who else is in the ultra-low-power MCU / MPU game?

The terms “microprocessors” and “microcontrollers” seem to be used interchangeably. If any readers can shed some light on this distinction, please do so in the comments below.

In any case, the STM offering is probably the smallest version available today. Other options include:

  • Analog Devices Ultra-Low-Power (ULP) MCUs also use ARM Cortex processor cores. The company’s ADUCM4050 has a maximum clock speed of 52 MHz and only draws 680 nanoamps in hibernate mode.
  • The Redpine RS12000 SmartMCU signals feature a deep sleep mode current draw of only 600 nA.

What do you look for in an MPU? Share your thoughts in the comments below.