STMicro Introduces Two STM32 Discovery Kits with 2G/3G or 4G LTE-IoT Cat M1/NB1 Connectivity

Orange Pi Development Boards

Embedded World 2018 trade fair will take place on  on take place on February 27 – March 1 in Nuremberg, Germany, and we’re starting to see some company announce new products and solutions for the embedded market.

STMicro has just announced their showcase their very first cellular development kits at the event, based on a display-less variant on their 32L496GDISCOVERY Discovery board with cellular add-on boards:

  • P-L496G-CELL01 Discovery kit with with a 2G/3G modem
  • P-L496G-CELL02 Discovery kit with with an LTE-IoT Cat M1 (eMTC) / NB1 (NB-IoT) / 2G model

Now the company has not started designed their own cellular modem, but instead relying on QUECTEL modems. Both kits share most of the same specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L496AGI6 Arm Cortex M4F [email protected] 80 MHz with 1 MB Flash, 320 KB RAM in a UFBGA169 package
  • On-board memory – 8 Mbit PSRAM
  • On-board + external storage – 32 KB I2 C EEPROM with OTP page preloaded with board ID and voucher code; micro SD card slot
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG HS port, 1x micro USB port for debugging (see below)
  • Audio – SAI Audio CODEC, ST-MEMS digital microphones, stereo headset jack including analog microphone input
  • Camera I/F – 8-bit camera header
  • Expansion – Arduino Uno V3 and STMod+ connectors
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • P-L496G-CELL01 model
      • Quectel UG96 worldwide cellular modem penta-band 2G/3G module, 7.2 Mbps downlink, 5.76 Mbps uplink.
      • Pulse 2G/3G SMA antenna for frequency ranges: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
    • P-L496G-CELL02 model
      • Quectel BG96 worldwide cellular modem LTE Cat M1 (eMTC) & Cat NB1 (NB-IoT) & EGPRS module
      • SMA antenna
    • Modem reset red LED and modem signaling green LED
    • Switchable SIM interface, eSIM and MicroSIM
Click to Enlarge
  • Debugging – On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 SWD,JTAG debugger/programmer with USB re- enumeration capability: mass storage, virtual COM port and debug port
  • Misc – On-board current measurement, 2x user LEDs, 1x user and 1x reset push-buttons, 4-direction joystick with selection button
  • Power Supply – ST-LINK, USB VBUS, or external sources

Free software libraries and examples for the board will be available in STM32Cube package – soon including X-CUBE-CELLULAR software expansion packs – , and as usual, STM32 DISCOVERY boards are also supported by IAR, Keil and GCC-based IDEs, as well as Arm Mbed.

Back of STM32 Board with Arduino Headers, micro SD slot, and Audio Jack – Click to Enlarge

Each kit will come with an EMnify SIM card, specially designed for IoT applications and with a global reach of 133 countries. The SIM card can be managed from a dashboard, and a free 3-month trial data plan of 90 days will also included with the discovery kits. So it looks to be a competitor of Hologram SIM card, which I’ve recently been using in a Raspberry Pi 3G quick start guide.

 

Developers who are not familiar with C language will be able to run JavaScript scripts thanks to Espruino JavaScript interpreter for STM32 and through the Espruino Chrome Web IDE.  The company has also partnered with cloud services providers with their own strengths:

  • Grovestreams’ analytics capabilities can help bringing decision-making mechanisms to any software
  • Exosite for industrial and enterprise systems
  • AVSystem for M2M applications
  • Aimagin for scientific application with its MATLAB analytics
  • Ubidots for application building

All those providers offer a free trial account, and extras may be offer to users of either Discovery kit. Both kits are sampling now, and should be available for purchase in Q2 2018 at a currently undisclosed price. Visit P-L496G-CELL01 product page for more details, as the company has yet to setup a page for P-L496G-CELL02 kit.

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