Memory update to boost mobile devices : Manufacturer backing

4/6/2012 11:31:04 AM

Low-power LPDDR3 memory is set to succeed LPDDR2.  Aqam Shah investigates how this could translate to faster tablets and smartphones.

Description: Low-power LPDDR3 memory

After laptops, tablets and smartphones running on a new form of DDR3 memory designed for mobile devices could hit shop shelves late next year.

Low-power DOR3 memory (LPOD3) is expected to improve data -transfer rates in mobile devices. According to analysts, this could translate to better performance and longer battery life.

The Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (jedec) is in the process & defining the specification for LPDDR3, which draws heavily from the DOR3 PAM found in PCs.

The mobile memory will replace LPDDR2, which is found in current smartphones and tablets, such as Apples Pod 2. Samsung has developed the industry’s fist 4GB LPODP3 RAM unit, which can transfer data at up to 1,600 megabits per second 1Mbps). This is 15 times faster than LPDDP2, and consumes 20 percent less power.

“Tablets and smartphones need a faster form of memory as devices and applications become more resourceintensive7 said Mike Howard a principal analyst at IHS iSuppli.

For viewing and recording HO content LP000J will offer a better experience because of the greater amount of bandwidth available, he added.

Mobile memory is key in improving a device’s ability to muititask. As hardware advances include faster processors and higher resolution screens, LPDOR3 allows the device to keep up, switching between videos, phone calls and other applications.

LPDDR3 memory is also designed to consume less power than its predecessor tor, said Dean Mccarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. A combination of low power consumption and more bandwidth could prolong battery life. “It allows lower power consumption that has an immediate benefit everywhere” he said.

The memory will initially be found in tablets and high-end smartphores, where performance matters more. It won’t be cheap but, as production Increases and LPDDR2 is gradually phased out, prices will fall. This will be reflected in the smartphone and tablet market.

“Eventually all these technologies become a commodity,” McCarron said.                                                       

Manufacturer backing

Intel has also been pushing the use at low-power memory in ultrabooks, which are being promoted by the chip maker as thin-and light laptops with tablet-like features. Analysts said there are still many unknowns about what components these devices will use, but LPDDR3 is a clear contender. L.PDDR3 offers close to a 15 percent power reduction compared to standard DDR3, according to Jedec.

Manufacturer backing of LPDDR3 is likely to increase once Jedec has finalised the specification. The world’s top RAM makers - Samsung, Hynix Semiconductor, Elpida Memory, Micron and Nanya - are all members of Jedec. The council hasn’t stated when the process will complete, but analysts believe it could be by the end of 2012.

In the past, Jedec has concentrated on speed without worrying too much about power, said Jim handy, director of Objective Analysis. With DDR3 and LPDDR3, it’s worked to bring down the power specifications while continuing to increase speed.

Adoption of a new type of memory depends on other parts of the system, said Handy. For mobile phones it’s less sudden than it is with PCs, where a single supplier dictates which interFace the chipsets are going to support. But the power advantage is a sufficiently compelling reason for device makers to quickly switch over to LPODR3.

“I would anticipate a quick conversion of mobile phones to LPDDR3. In tablets, so far Apple is the only supplier of any significance, so adoption depends solely on its moves.” Handy said.

It’s hard to predict when Samsung will ramp up production of LPDDR3. “Samsung has announced products lately that don’t show up in production systems for more than a year,” he said.

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