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STMicroelectronics Seeks Revival

Giant seen as 'adrift' and 'a survivor'
6/14/2016 09:00 AM EDT
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alex_m1
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Re: ST has potential, will they listen
alex_m1   6/27/2016 5:57:36 PM
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@Sheepdoll , yes the arduino is popular among makers. But if you want to look beyond prototyping, to manufacturing in volume and you care about: optimizing cost/power/reliability/portability/security/etc...- all while keeping a high development speed - the mbed looks much better than the Arduino, especially the newer version of the mbed.

And ST seem to put a lot of effort into that, with multiple boards/shields/etc.

And even that isn't enough, because in the end, the high volume is designed using tools llike CubeMX, which is not good relative to the competition(freescale). 

Sheepdoll
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Re: ST has potential, will they listen
Sheepdoll   6/17/2016 2:25:08 AM
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@clive1 wrote : Expect ST to start making shield boards.

That is a really good point.  I just got FOC and 6-Step Motor control pack with the F302R8 Nucleo.  While it does have Arduino Headers only the Morpho headers are populated.

I was at a training seminar for the F746 last week.  One of the "Staff" training engineers asked if there was much of a demand for MEMS stuff in the makerspace I frequent.  So they are aware.

I also noticed that the code for the F746 had some libraries that were adapted from Adafruit.

The split of Arduino is frustrating.  Both were at the Maker Faire last month and I had a chance to talk with the reps.  I do not think anyone is happy with the fracturing.

What I think these older companies have trouble understanding is how the open source community works.  Arduino was independent of Atmel, then it went viral.  What drives EDA tools like Eagle and KiCad?

While STM32duino sort of took over the maple stuff, none of us have any affiliation with anyone other than ourselves.  It is a bunch of folk who have maple boards or Nucleos and want to use them with the Arduino IDE.  ST has also salted the mine with quite a few of these boards as giveaways at trade shows and seminars.  So there must be a lot of them out there, without a easy entry point.

Having acquired over the last few years a number of these boards, It was nice to find a use for them.  I personally figured out a way using CubeMX, where I could build a blink sketch or a Hello World serial echo, on any ST Nucleo or discovery in about 3 to 5 hours.

 

 

TonyTib
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Re: ST has potential, will they listen
TonyTib   6/16/2016 3:25:55 PM
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Can't comment too much on ST since I haven't found time to fire up my Nucleo boards yet...but they do seem to be getting some traction, e.g. used on a lot of China stuff, plus MicroPython.

However, plenty of MCU makers have had issues, not just ST; just search for Microchip PIC32MZ and its issues.

clive1
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Re: ST has potential, will they listen
clive1   6/16/2016 12:09:00 PM
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The engineers listen, management, not so much. The FAE's have been apologizing for the website/forum for years.

The HAL/Cube stuff has be a two year train-wreck of a transition. There are still a wealth of issues there. Not least that you have a bunch of Java coders who need dog-fooding in how things actually need to work in embedded.

The STM32F7 (Cortex-M7) in its new iteration is the 2MB, double precision FPU-D it should have started as if the right decisions had been made 18 months previously. They didn't listen then. This gave ATMEL a clear 12+ month advantage, although they have their own issues, and it will be interesting to see what survives the the merger both in terms of lines and pricing.

The more Arduino fractures the less appealing it will become, the DISCO and NUCLEO boards with shield connectors check a lot of boxes for embedded developers. The Maple board design was disappointing, the GHI FEZ Lemur and Panda III boards do STM32+Shield so much better. Expect ST to start making shield boards.

The Seeed Grove connectors are the next hot thing for the maker/mashup space.

Sheepdoll
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ST has potential, will they listen
Sheepdoll   6/16/2016 12:07:13 AM
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Back in 2004 a 8051 project I was working on went EOL when ST dropped the support chip.  I replaced it with an Atmel AVR.

It is important to note that the 2016 ST is not the same as the 2004 ST.  The big difference is that ST has one of the better ARM chips out there.  So good that there are unlicensed pin/register compatible clones.  These chips are also incredibly cheap.

What was lacking was a decent toolpath.  Most of the example code online requires an expensive closed source software tools.  This has changed with a now mature GCC compiler and a nice Java based setup tool called CubeMX. 

This lead to attempts to bring STM32 Arm devices into the Arduino IDE.  Notably a company named leaf labs, made a cheap $3USD board.  This became abandoned a year or so back.

Independently a group of enthusiast (I am one) took over supporting the STM32 using the Arduino IDE.  Many of there demo and evaluation boards have an "Arduino Shield" connector.  There is also a STLink snap off JTAG programmer.

It is still early days for this effort.  Last month in conjunction with Arduino.org ST announced the OTTO board.  Those of us who have been using STM32 under Arduino IDE were not surprised to see it based on a branch of the leaf labs code.

Question is, can ST still make a mark in the Arduino market?  The potential is there.  There is the start of a worldwide grass roots movement.  Will they listen and take advantage of it?

 

MWagner_MA
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Problems with ST Products are limiting their potential
MWagner_MA   6/15/2016 12:36:22 PM
After diving into the MEMs accerometer market, I found that ST was defintely overselling the capability of their parts.  Their true performance is either not documented well or buried. Not until you confront them with what you are trying to do, do you get their advise to use another part.  Their tech support is not up to par to compete with TI either.  Next vendor please...

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