Universal products could take memory market by storm

Market research firm published a more hypothetical study today by evaluating the market volume of a potential universal memory technology. Such a memory would have to offer fast read and write speeds, practically unlimited write and erase cycles, low production cost, scalability, small power consumption as well as non-volatile characteristics. In today's memory world Flash would be closest to such a memory solution, but has limited write cycles, reaches its end of life in terms of scalability within a few years and does not deliver nearly the speed of random access memory. SRAM or DRAM on the other side is volatile memory that loses stored contents as soon as power supply is removed.

Emerging memories that could come close to a universal memory, including Ovonic Unified Memory (OUM), Magneto-Resistive RAM (MRAM) and Ferro-Electric RAM (FRAM) and Nanotube RAM (NRAM), will see enormous revenue opportunities, according to iSuppli. A universal memory could draw annual revenues of $76.3 billion or 80 percent of all memory chip sales by 2019, the firm estimates. Total memory market volume is estimated to grow from $46.8 billion in 2004 to $95.5 billion in 2019.

Unfortunately, there is no memory maker at this time that expects any of the emerging memory technologies to become universal. MRAM are currently given the best chances to come close to what can be considered universal, but the technology is not expected to have a significant impact on the market before 2008 or 2009. (THG)