Renesas Reduces Power, Size with Dual Voltage MultiMediaCards

1/12/2004 - Renesas Technology Europe has announced a Dual Voltage version MultiMediaCardTM (MMC) and a Reduced Size Dual Voltage version MMC (RS-DV-MMC), both of which are capable of operating on either 1.8V or 3V. The new 32, 64 and 128-Mbyte cards can reduce system power consumption and size for 1.8V systems while supporting existing 3V systems. Both versions are suitable for use in digital consumer products such as mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, portable music players and digital TVs. The company has also developed 256-Mbyte and 512-Mbyte 3V MMCs.

The dual voltage MMCs use a 0.13 mm process AG-AND type flash memory and a newly developed controller. Both versions comply with the MultiMediaCard Association's (MMCA) System Specification Version 3.3 for dual voltage capability, while offering upward-compatibility with previous specifications. The RS-DV-MMC is approximately half the size (24.0 x 18.0 x 1.4 mm) of the standard MMC (24.0 x 32.0 x 1.4 mm) but offers the same functions, pin count, and thickness in addition to MMC compatibility. All the cards offer a fast operating speed of 1.8 Mbyte/s.

Unlike many small memory cards, including current MMCs, that require a 3V (or 5V) operating environment, the new cards operate on either 3V or 1.8V, reducing system power consumption and helping to extend battery life. This also means that a 1.8V or 3V system can be designed without having to consider the operating voltage of a card in the end-product. With a 1.8V system, for example, support for a step-up circuit that was previously required for 3V card operation is no longer necessary, enabling both the design load and the number of parts to be reduced.

The cards can also be used as a bridge medium that removes the concern about different operating voltages of various devices. For example, data recorded in a mobile phone operating at 1.8V can be read by a PDA or similar device operating at 3V.

The 256-Mbyte HB28J256MM3 and 512-Mbyte HB28J512MM3 are 3V operation versions of the MMC that support, for example, higher pixel count digital cameras. The large flash memory capacity of these cards is provided by the 0.13 mm process AG-AND type flash memory. These cards comply with MMCA System Specification Version 3.1.

Development support tools for these cards include existing support driver and file manager software in addition to hardware, such as an H8S microcontroller-based development platform, and system analysis tools such as a dedicated MMC protocol analyser. These are available from various third party vendors. Third party providers are also planning to make adapters available for the RS-MMC, so that its external dimensions can be adjusted to the standard size MMC, and for an open-top type socket for mounting an RS-MMC on a mounting board for product embedding. Further information, including Renesas Technology's flash card line-up, will be available in Q2/2004.

The 32-Mbyte models of both dual voltage cards will be available as initial-phase products in March 2004, followed by 64/128-Mbyte models in May 2004. Sample shipments of the large capacity 3V 256/512-Mbyte products will be available in March and June 2004 respectively with 1-Gbyte and 4-Gbyte versions under development for future release.

MultiMediaCardTM is a trademark of the MultiMediaCard Association (MMCA ). MMC is a trademark of Infineon Technologies AG of Germany.

About Renesas Technology Corp.
Renesas Technology Corp. designs and manufactures highly integrated semiconductor system solutions for mobile, automotive and PC and Audio Visual markets. Established on April 1, 2003 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501, NYSE:HIT) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TSE:6503) and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Renesas Technology is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world and the number one microcontroller supplier globally. Besides microcontrollers, Renesas Technology offers system-on-chip devices, Smart Card ICs, mixed-signal products, flash memories, SRAMs and more. Renesas Technology Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Technology Corp.

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