Navigating STMicroelectronics’ Microcontroller Innovations and Ultra Low Power MCUs: A Conversation with Sridhar ETHIRAJ

As we explore the realm of microcontrollers and their pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the Cloud-Connected Intelligent Edge, we find STMicroelectronics at the forefront, driving innovation and accessibility. At the heart of this endeavor lies the STM32 series, serving as the cornerstone of ST’s strategy. The Electronics Media editor had an insightful discussion with Sridhar ETHIRAJ working as Sr. Technical Marketing and Applications Manager, Microcontrollers- India (APeC Region), STMicroelectronics about the leadership and key milestones of ST in the realm of microcontrollers, particularly focusing on their differentiated strategy in addressing MCU product lines. With a comprehensive approach built on scale, ecosystem support, robust manufacturing, and global accessibility, ST is poised to empower developers and facilitate the realization of groundbreaking IoT solutions. He also delves into the latest addition to ST’s MCU portfolio, the STM32U0 series, examining its unique features and its role alongside existing offerings like the STM32L0.

What is ST’s leadership/key milestones for Microcontrollers? How does ST deploy differentiated strategy addressing MCU products lines ?

Microcontrollers are an essential enabler of today’s fast-changing world. It is a world where billions of devices in the Internet of Things are becoming more autonomous and connected – while increasingly creating and processing data locally. We call this evolution the Cloud-Connected Intelligent Edge.

We see the STM32 as the key enabler for our customers to release their creativity and turn this vision into reality. So, what are we doing to make our customers successful?

Our strategy is built on four pillars:

  • Breadth and Depth of the STM32 Portfolio: Last year we added over 600 new part numbers giving developers over 3000 different options to choose from. This is what we call scale.
  • Ecosystem, which is at the heart of our developer-centric approach. Our ecosystem includes development boards, evaluation kits, software tools and cloud resources. It offers components that make it easier for developers to write code that can be reused across the full STM32 portfolio.
  • Manufacturing – ensuring our customers get the products they need, where they need them, when they need them, for as long as they need them. We are shipping more than 4000 microcontrollers per minute to enable this. Think about it – that’s around 6 million every day!
  • Accessibility & Reach: The STM32 Community is the go-to platform for developers to easily get support, acquire knowledge, and share expertise on STM32. We had 1.3 million unique visitors last year and the community now receives over 300,000 visitors every single month. We also have a strong network of distribution partners that amplify our reach – with offices in over 1000 locations across the globe.

STM32U0 is seen as upgraded L0, what new models will join L0 series in the coming years?

STM32U0 can be viewed as the upgraded version of STM32L0, because STM32U0 achieves great improvement in terms of performance, power consumption, security, and cost-effectiveness, and can help customers design and develop more flexible and more efficient products. However, it is not a simple substitute of STM32L0. STM32L0 is still a good product, especially with less Flash resources, in which case, we strongly recommend STM32L0. In addition, with the embedded EEPROM, STM32L0 is also widely welcomed by customers in some applications. STM32U0 can be seen as a supplement to ST’s low-power family, yet there is no production discontinuation plan for STM32L0, and we are committed to providing the rolling 10-year supply guarantee, so customers can choose STM32L0 or STM32U0 according to their specific applications.

For Flash resources, as today’s products are becoming more and more integrated and have more and more functions, the overall demand for Flash is growing. However, if our products have smaller resource requirements, we can consider the STM32L0 product. STM32L0 is still very competitive for applications with smaller resource requirements.

What are the key messages of the STM32U0 series?

The STM32U0 is the latest generation of entry cost ultra-low-power STM32. It can be summarized as below :

Energy savings and Longer Product Usage: The STM32U0 benefits from a better power consumption in active mode and low power modes as well as innovative and versatile ways to wake-up from low-power modes.
Integrated features: The STM32U0 embeds a lot of features: segment display, a high number of analog peripherals: ADC, DAC, comparators and Opamps and an essential security set for firmware code protection.
Cost Effectiveness: The STM32U0 is an entry cost product. The STM32U0 is offered at an attractive price point.In addition, due to integrated high oscillators, the STM32U0 removes the use of external crystal to lower the total BOM cost.

Does STM32U0 replace the STM32L0? Which family is pin-to-pin compatible with STM32U0?

No, the STM32U0 complements the ultra-low-power family. The STM32L0 is still a very good product and highly recommended especially for lower Flash densities (equal or inferior to 64kB). The STM32L0 offers also an embedded EEPROM and a unique very low power consumption at high temperature.

STM32L0, STM32L1, STM32L4 are pin-to-pin compatible STM32U0.

For more information visit: STM32