LONDON Nonvolatile memory maker Numonyx BV (Geneva, Switzerland), the company being acquired by Micron Technology Inc., has yet to sample customers with a long-awaited 1-Gbit capacity phase-change memory. The indications from Numonyx are that samples will be available in 2010 with volume production expected in 2011.
The arrival of that memory would go some way towards establishing phase-change memory as a scalable alternative to flash memory. Similarly, its delay could fuel speculation that phase-change memory is hard to make, or that the technology is going to be de-emphasized when Micron completes its acquisition of the Numonyx.
Numonyx has been sampling a 128-Mbit phase-change memory implemented in a 90-nm process technology since 2008, but opted to jump over the 65-nm to create its next part on 45-nm process technology. The part was expected to arrive in 2009 but that expectation got shifted in December 2009, at the time of the International Electron Devices Meeting. Paolo Cappelletti, vice president of technology development at Numonyx, told EE Times: "The chip we are presenting is a full-specification product. It is meant to be in production in 2010; samples in the first quarter of 2010."
Cliff Smith, business development manager for phase-change memory in embedded applications, said: "We do have [45-nm, 1-Gbit] samples in house. We are completing the validation. It is a wireless product targeted at cell phone applications. For industrial applications we expect to be about six months after the wireless group."
Other executives said that completion of the 45-nm 1-Gbit device had taken a little longer than expected. One source said: "We will sample this year. 2011 is when we will talk about products in 45-nm."
By then Numonyx could have given up more ground to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Samsung announced that it has begun production of a 512-Mbit phase-change random access memory on a 60-nm process aimed at mobile phone handsets and other battery-operated applications in September 2009.
Related links and articles:
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