Powering the next generation of smart connected objects like digital-home products, wearable electronics, smart lighting, and smart sensors, STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has revealed an advanced dual-processor wireless chip that supports new features and enhanced performance with extended battery life to deliver an improved end-user experience.
The new STM32WB wireless System-on-Chip (SoC) devices combine a fully-featured Arm® Cortex®-M4-based microcontroller to run the main application as well as an Arm Cortex-M0+ core to offload the main processor and offer real time operation on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5 and IEEE 802.15.4 radio. The radio can also run other wireless protocols concurrently, including OpenThread, ZigBee®, or proprietary protocols, giving even more options for connecting devices to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Today, only a few manufacturers offer similar dual-processor wireless chips capable of managing the user application and the radio separately for optimum performance, and with such large memory size. Alternatives typically utilize entry-level Arm Cortex-M industry-standard cores, which introduce architecture limitations.
Combining the higher-performing Cortex-M4 with a Cortex-M0+ for network processing, the STM32WB leverages ST’s ultra-low-power MCU (microcontroller) technologies to combine superior RF performance for longer battery life. The SoC also includes essential circuitry (balun) for connecting to the antenna, which engineers must usually design themselves, as well as generous user and system memory, hardware encryption, and customer-key storage for brand and IP protection.
“The STM32WB series delivers the advanced integration and uncompromising dual-core performance that developers now need to meet relentless end-user demands for even better and more affordable smart connected objects,” said Michel Buffa, Group Vice President, Microcontroller Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “Moreover, compatibility with the STM32 development ecosystem brings design advantages that can significantly reduce time to market for new products like lights, fitness trackers, medical monitors, beacons, tags, security devices, and many others.”
Engineering samples of the STM32WB in packages up to 100-pin WLCSP will begin sampling to lead customers in Q1 2018, priced from $1.56 for high-volume orders.