Samsung has dropped a bombshell by releasing a smartphone with Phase-Change Memory ahead of everyone else, one that's a mere entry level model and called the Samsung Monte GT-E2550 which can be had for £40 from Amazon.
Chipworks, a company that specialises in reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis of semiconductors and electronic systems, published a detailed analysis of the phone, courtesy of Rajesh Krishnamurthy.
Phase-Change Memory has long been presented as the unifying storage technology that will combine the advantages of RAM (bit alterability, fast read and write speeds of RAM) with the non volatile aspect of flash memory like NOR and NAND.
The technology has been investigated since 1955 but the first PRAM products were only announced back in 2004 with the chip used in the GT-E2550 - a 512Mbit PCM manufactured with a 65nm process and offered as a Multi-chip-package - only released in April last year.
Chipworks went as far as X-raying the flash package - known as KPS1N15EZA - in order to confirm that the chip on the Monte was indeed a PCM one; they found out that Samsung's PCM has an architecture that resembles that of a NAND flash rather than NOR, which would give it the ability to scale even further in the future.
Interestingly, Intel together with Numonyx, are the other major parties involved in the field of PRAM. Numonyx had announced a 1Gb 45nm component back in December 2009 although no actual products have yet been rolled out yet apparently.
PRAM is likely to follow the same growth path as ordinary flash memory with capacity doubling every year or so. Already HP labs has demonstrated data densities of more than one terabit or 125GB per square inch, which is even higher than magnetic storage technology which has reached 650Gbit per square inch.
Other companies like Qimonda, ST-Microlelectronics, Hynix and others have already stated their interest in the technology which would be expanded to other devices like laptops or tablets.