Exciting new opportunities for embedded memory technologies

04/26/04

Technical Insights world embedded memory technologies analysis



Palo Alto, Calif. – April 26, 2004 –– The launch of the sophisticated magnetic random-access memory (MRAM) technology is expected to revolutionize the embedded memory market. It combines the high storage and low cost of dynamic RAM (DRAM), high speed of static RAM (SRAM) and the non-volatility of flash memory to provide a single and unified memory solution.

"Nonvolatility is a key feature that extends battery life and lowers power consumption, retaining data during power failures," explains Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Anand Subramanian. "The future success of MRAM is also reflected in greater storage capacity and easy accessibility, ideal for a wide array of electronic products."

Though flash is also non-volatile, high speed programming, extended programmability, and simplified write operations put MRAM at a strategic advantage to replace flash in faster applications.

As an emerging technology, MRAM's initial popularity may be in the rapidly growing consumer applications segment, where small mobile devices deploy MRAM as a stand-alone solution or in conjunction with hard drives to provide superior performance and reliable storage subsystems.

Computing, networking, and mobile communication provide attractive opportunities for embedded memory technologies such as MRAM. Among these, computing is considered a high-growth sector contributing approximately 80 percent of the revenues.

In addition to lowering cost per bit, generating higher speed has become the top priority in the computing market. With main memory data transfer rates rising at about 40 percent per year and graphics data rates accelerating even more quickly, participants are compelled to upgrade products and demonstrate their superiority for market success.

"Embedded memory suppliers must continuously develop leading-edge technology and simultaneously maintain high-volume production to remain successful," says Subramanian. "Excellent customer service, technical support, and expertise are crucial to effectively satisfy the client's cost concerns and system designs."

For instance, flash memory's compact, energy-efficient, and inexpensive properties are ideal for storage purposes in digital cameras, smart cards, and automotive control systems. Also, erasabiltiy and reprogrammability without the need for higher voltages gives flash memory a distinct advantage over conventional read-only memories.

NAND flash is another exciting embedded memory technology that is likely to generate higher revenue flow for participants. Used primarily in storing multimedia data, NAND flash brings a higher level of functionality in products such as digital cameras, universal serial bus flash drives, personal digital assistants, and MP3 players.

"A rise in electronic devices incorporating multimedia features, such as imaging, digital music, and video stimulates the deployment of NAND flash as a high-density, low-cost data storage solution in premium mobile devices with clamshell designs," concludes Subramanian.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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