October 27, 2009 -- To overcome the frustration people can feel when electronic products "freeze" in mid-operation, STMicroelectronics has introduced a new smart-reset chip that 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 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.
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 2x2 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 100mm2 on the board.
The STM65xx is in mass production now, priced at $0.53 for 10,000 units.
Go to the STMicroelectronics website for details.