Samsung has begun producing a new type of “melting” memory chip that could replace flash memory and boost battery life in mobile phones by more than 20 percent.
The world’s largest maker of memory chips, Samsung said that it is now manufacturing phase-change random access memory, or PRAM, in 512-megabit capacities.
Phase change memory chips have been discussed for decades. In them, a chemical compound called chalcogenide — which is also used in CD-RW rewritable disks — is heated to very high temperatures. The heat changes the physical state of the compound, and the two resulting states become the binary “ones and zeros” used by computers for data storage.
What’s advantageous about PRAM is that it can read and write data 10 times 30 times faster and at lower power than the conventional flash memory found in mobile phones, portable media players and USB thumb drives, the company says. Specifically, single bits can be changed to a zero or a one without the need to first erase an entire block of cells, a drawback of flash memory.
Phase change memory is also “executable,” another advantage as cell phone applications continue to grow in popularity.
“We expect it to become one of our core memory products in the future,” said Sei-Jin Kim, vice president of the mobile memory planning and enabling group in the Memory Division at Samsung Electronics, in a statement.
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