STMicroelectronics is leading the trend to simplify product design with plug-and-play modules for prototyping, by releasing its third-generation development platform for customers using STM8 and STM32 microcontrollers.

The new EvoPrimer platform builds on experience from ST's Primer and Primer2 kits, the industry's first low-cost, hand-held tools for rapid prototyping with the STM8 and STM32. Now, EvoPrimer further increases flexibility and lowers customers' overall investment in tools by providing a common base unit with interchangeable low-cost microcontroller modules, or target boards. This flexibility provides a quick and cost-effective way to evaluate alternative variants from the large STM8 and STM32 families.

Target boards are available now to support STM8L ultra low-power 8-bit microcontrollers, as well as the 32-bit STM32F Connectivity and Performance Lines families. Additional target boards are soon to be introduced for the ultra low-power STM32L and the ultra high-performance STM32 F-2 series featuring advanced 90nm process technology.

The target boards connect readily to functions on board the EvoPrimer base unit, including an LCD touchscreen, a joystick, a MEMS accelerometer, a microphone, loudspeaker and jack, a Micro SD card connector, and a Li-ion battery with charge-management circuitry. An integrated extension connector allows extra functions to be added, if needed. EvoPrimer is also integrated with the CircleOS operating system, which provides services that save designers having to understand all the complexities of the microcontroller.

To help users succeed with their designs, ST supports two online communities bringing together over 15,000 engineers using Primer tools with the STM8 or STM32 families. Almost 100 downloadable projects are available to members, and most will run immediately on EvoPrimer.

The communities can be found at and, and provide many other facilities including access to product specialists and popular discussion forums.

The EvoPrimer is initially available as a kit with one specified target board, priced at $99. Extra target boards are available for $24, and the base unit can also be purchased separately for $75. The platform is shipped with the Raisonance Ride 7 application development environment, and the Raisonance STM8 C compiler or GNU C compiler for STM32.