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Old 11-26-2005, 09:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AlbertoM
How is this significant? Inquiring minds want to know....
I'm looking at it from an investment standpoint.

Back in 2000, Intel started working on phase change memory but they haven't released a commercial product yet. Basically, phase change memory (PRAM, also known as "Ovonic Unified Memory") is a replacement for flash memory, which is going to run out of gas as the chip lithography gets too small. The benefits of PRAM/OUM include much faster reading/writing and easy integration with microprocessors.

Earlier this year, Intel outlined their strategy for the mobile phone and they clearly show PRAM/OUM in everything by the end of the decade (slide 26). However, they have stated that it will take "years" to ramp up a new technology from cutting edge to mainstream. If you look at flash vs. EEPROM, it took about 4 years for flash to overcome EEPROMs in total shipments. That means Intel is probably going to introduce a PRAM/OUM-based product soon. It makes sense that it would be in a cellular processor.

From a technical standpoint, the performance of the PXA901 processor in the 8700 device is quite spectacular. To me, it seems that flash memory can't provide this kind of performance. The initial press release stated that the device had "64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SRAM" and RIM's spec page also showed this. But then RIM took down the 8700 page for a while only to replace it with a different one. It now says that the device has SDRAM instead of flash.

For various technical reasons, I am skeptical that Intel is using SDRAM in this device. Because Intel hasn't released details on the processor, I can only speculate. Here is an interesting Intel patent concerning the aforementioned PRAM/OUM.

System 860 may include a controller 865, an input/output (I/O) device 870 (e.g. a keypad, display), a memory 875, and a wireless interface 880 coupled to each other via a bus 885. It should be noted that the scope of the present invention is not limited to embodiments having any or all of these components.


Although the scope of the present invention is not limited in this respect, system 860 may use one of the following communication air interface protocols to transmit and receive messages: Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), cellular radiotelephone communication systems, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular radiotelephone systems, North American Digital Cellular (NADC) cellular radiotelephone systems, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems, Extended-TDMA (E-TDMA) cellular radiotelephone systems, third generation (3G) systems like Wide-band CDMA (WCDMA), CDMA-2000, or the like.

It sounds like they definitely had a cell phone in mind.

FWIW, Samsung has also been hard at work on the technology. They're targetting next year.

I guess that I'm just curious.

Last edited by all_in_auburn : 11-26-2005 at 09:31 PM.