Look out silicon and magnetic storage, here comes glass. Micron has announced production of the first commercial cellphone phase-change memory (PCM) modules, a type of flash RAM that works by changing a crystal solid to an amorphous state. The 1Gb chips will share a circuit board with 512Mb of standard volatile memory, just enough to go in feature phones for now -- but the company claims it will eventually offer larger modules for smartphone and tablet storage as well. PCM could scale to much faster speeds than conventional NAND flash, since it doesn't require a time-sapping erase before rewriting -- and with read speeds of 400MB/s, it's already into regular flash territory while still just a first generation product. Once the tech gets even quicker, PCM could even replace volatile RAM, allowing more secure storage in case of a power loss and reducing device costs and power usage. That means the glassy new kid could eventually bump silicon-based storage altogether -- ending its 40-year plus reign as king of the memory substrates. To see some of the ways it trumps NAND, check the video after the break.
Micron Announces Availability of Phase Change Memory for Mobile Devices
First PCM Solution in the World in Volume Production
BOISE, Idaho, July 17, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:MU), one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced an industry first with high-volume availability of its 45-nanometer (nm) Phase Change Memory (PCM) for mobile devices, featuring 1-gigabit (Gb) PCM plus 512-megabit (Mb) LPDDR2 in a multichip package. As the first company in the world currently offering PCM solutions in volume production, Micron is providing chipset vendors, enablers, and handset manufacturers with a proven product that meets the expanding needs of today's wireless market and paves the way for enhanced features and capabilities.
PCM provides enhanced boot time, simplifies software development and boosts performance with overwrite capability. It also provides very low power consumption and extremely high reliability. In addition, the design-optimizing shared interface between LPDDR2 and PCM is fully compliant with JEDEC industry standards.
Micron's 45nm PCM solution is currently targeted for utilization in feature phones, with a future roadmap aimed at addressing smartphones and media tablets.
"Our commitment to innovation and continued development of advanced products to address the voracious demands of the wireless industry is clear and strong," said Tom Eby, Vice President of the Wireless Solutions Group at Micron. "We are determined to evolve and innovate by continuing to offer the best-tailored solutions for both today's and tomorrow's market requirements."
Micron's PCM product line has established a foothold in the wireless industry, as evidenced by longstanding key relationships with global customers and enablers, ongoing engagement with major device manufactures, and strong cooperation with Intel Mobile Communications, which includes recent PCM qualification.
"Intel's Mobile and Communications Group is at the forefront of new cellular product and technology enablement, and we see great value in Micron's PCM technology," said Stefan Butz, Vice President, Marketing and Product Planning for Intel's Mobile and Communications Group. "With a commitment to innovation and standardization, as well as a long history of cooperation with Intel, Micron is a trusted supplier."
From entry-level phones to high-end smartphones and tablets, Micron supplies virtually every volatile and nonvolatile memory product utilized in wireless devices today, including NOR, NAND, PCM, LPDRAM and e·MMC™ embedded memory, meeting the need for increased performance, expanding storage requirements, mature technology replacement, and package capability.
Micron Technology, Inc. is one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets a full range of DRAM, NAND and NOR flash memory, as well as other innovative memory technologies, packaging solutions and semiconductor systems for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, embedded and mobile products. Micron's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit www.micron.com.