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STMicroelectronics’ Award-Winning eCompass Modules Being Used in Xiaomi Mi1S Smartphones

Honored devices raise the bar in power consumption, performance and physical size
Geneva /

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, the world’s top MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) manufacturer, and the leading supplier of MEMS devices for consumer and mobile applications1, has been an early bird in introducing its LSM303D accelerometer and magnetometer combo module to Xiaomi (Mi1S) and other emerging mobile phone makers in China.

ST’s LSM303 eCompass family combines a 3-axis magnetic-field sensor and a 3-axis accelerometer in a single tiny 2x2x1mm module -- one of these, the LSM303C was recently selected as “Device of the Year” by the MEMS Industry Group. These devices accurately measure the direction and magnitude of external magnetic fields while the module’s accelerometer compensates for tilt, ensuring a very accurate compass heading even when portable devices are inclined. This capability provides the orientation function that is an essential part of all of today’s mobile devices.

“In smartphones and other mobile devices, every milliwatt matters,” said Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President and General Manager Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics. “The ST device meets minimal size constraints and allows significant reductions in power consumption without compromising performance in other areas. These advantages help manufacturers to provide mobile devices that meet customer expectations while minimizing the drain on the world’s resources.”

The low power consumption of the LSM303 Device of the Year is due to the use of a phenomenon called Magneto Resistance (MR). MR is inherently more power-efficient than alternative technologies, such as Hall Effect or Fluxgate that are used in competitive eCompasses. ST engineers were able to design devices that exploit this inherent power efficiency while still matching or exceeding the performance of competitive devices in module size, full-scale resolution and noise.

“Our MEMS technology continues to raise the bar in every quarter: power consumption, performance, price, and physical size,” said Vigna. “This, in turn, allows dynamic new companies such as Xiaomi to raise the bar in their own markets.”

In addition to being the world’s leading supplier of MEMS sensors, ST has underpinned its continued strong leadership with over 900 MEMS-related patents granted or pending worldwide.

About STMicroelectronics
ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing solutions. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a positive and innovative contribution to people's life. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2012, the company’s net revenues were $8.49 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.

1source: Consumer and Mobile MEMS Market Tracker H1 2013
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