Micron Phase Change Memory for Mobile Devices

Is Micron PCM ready for prime time, or is this another tease?

Micron has announced a phase change memory product (PCM) for mobile applications. It’s not the first time PCM has appeared in the wild, but the press release (repeated below) is clear to say this is the first volume production. Samsung’s earlier PCM device was found to be in some type of limited released creating speculation with no consensus on total production volumes.

Before the badndwagon pulls out of the station (again), it is possible that this is an application where PCM could develop some traction. But this is not a universal memory set to replace mass non-volatile storage flash (NAND). That type of speculation is well worn by each new phase change press release or conference paper. Looking closely at the Micron announcement, you can see there is no mention of scalability or the end of the road for conventional floating gate flash. Instead, it is clear that Micron is going this route due to the reliability of the PCM cell compared to its flash option. This is echoed in the comment “simplifies software development” since there is perhaps lessened need to track bad cells or perform wear leveling to the same extent required in traditional flash devices.

The complete press release follows the break, but you can read more about PCM and non-volatile memory right here at Electronics:

What happened to next generation non-volatile memory? – Part 1

What happened to next generation non-volatile memory? – Part 2

Safeguarding digital archives, Part 2 – A better way

July 17, 2012

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.