Thu, Apr 20, 2017 - Page 12 News List

STMicroelectronics to use Macronix chips in MCUs

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Macronix International Co (旺宏電子), the world’s No. 2 NOR flash memory chipmaker, yesterday said STMicroelectronics NV has adopted its ultra-low-power flash memory chips for its new advanced microcontroller (MCUs) used in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

It is the latest move by Macronix to expand its business in the IoT sector.

Macronix said that the IoT is rapidly emerging as one of three new applications that would drive strong demand for NOR flash memory chips and is likely to fuel the chipmaker’s growth.

“Our MX25R Quad-SPI Flash memory [adopted by STMicroelectronics] has a small footprint that is ideal for space-constrained ‘smart’ appliances and devices, and its low power and wide voltage range are tailored to overcoming the challenges of wearable and IoT devices,” Marconix marketing division vice president Ni Fu-long (倪福隆) said in a company statement.

The firm’s MX25R6435F is manufactured on its own 75-nanometer process technology under the Macronix 10-year Product Longevity Program, the statement said.

STMicroelectronics latest ultra-low-power MCU’s, provisionally named STM32L496/4A6, can be used in a wide range of applications including wearables, industrial sensors, home automation, and audio and metering systems, the statement said.

Apart from IoT devices, Macronix attributed demand for MCUs primarily to cars and growing adoption of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) flat panels for smartphones, which is partly worsening a supply crunch.

The chipmaker said smartphone makers have substituted embedded flash with NOR flash chips, which enhance color performance, for use in flagship models’ OLED panels.

These three applications are projected to each consume 100 million units of NOR flash chips per year, the chipmaker said.

Macronix said it has run its factories at capacity to cope with increasing orders, but still cannot catch up with demand.

It expects supply constraints to continue for the rest of the year.

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