To overcome the frustration people can feel when electronic products ‘freeze’ in mid-operation, a new smart-reset chip announced by STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a world leader in semiconductors for consumer applications, allows the system to be restarted safely without removing the battery or finding a tool to push the reset button, usually hidden behind a hole in the casing.
As more and more people come to use highly featured products such as smartphones, media players, game consoles, e-books and others, the problem of how best to recover a frozen device is surely encountered many times, daily, around the world.
Mechanisms to overcome frozen devices are often less well developed than the main product features. Most manual reset keys, where provided, are hidden to prevent resetting the device accidentally. As these can be difficult to access, a popular “fix” is to remove the battery. This can potentially damage the system, for example by causing critical data loss.
ST’s new STM65xx family of smart-reset Integrated Circuits (IC) has two inputs that can be connected to two of the device’s normal function buttons. When these are held down for a certain time, which is programmable, the IC will send a reset signal to the main processor. The two inputs and programmable delay time allow a combination of button presses and hold-down times to guard against unintended resets. While other ICs on the market can control one reset key, only the STM65xx has this smart-reset capability with two inputs and also includes the system-controlled supervision and reset features that most product designs require.
The arrival of this chip will enhance users’ experiences by providing a safe, convenient and easily understood means of restarting those frozen gadgets. For manufacturers, combining an improved manual reset with the system-controlled reset functions in a single chip offers better performance and saves cost and pc-board space. Its 2 x 2 mm package has a smaller overall footprint than using separate chips for system reset and one-key manual reset, or an equivalent network of discrete components that can occupy as much as 100 sq-mm on the board.
In addition, by allowing the manual reset to be controlled from the normal user buttons, the STM65xx can enable product designers to eliminate the traditional hidden reset requiring an access hole in the casing. This can save tooling costs and also provides an opportunity to create splash-resistant or waterproof new products.
The STM65xx is in mass production now, priced at $0.53 for 10,000 units.
For further information, visit www.st.com/reset
STMicroelectronics is a global leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with innovative semiconductor solutions. ST aims to be the undisputed leader in multimedia convergence and power applications leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships and manufacturing strength. In 2008, the Company’s net revenues were $9.84 billion.
Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
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Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.