SAN FRANCISCO--The amount of DRAM in each smartphones is projected to soar 50
percent this year, but the growth rates are slowing quickly as
density reaches some practical design limits and memory
vendors turn their attention to commercializing faster
parts for a market expected to hit 1 billion handsets in 2015,
according to a new report.
According to the latest IHS iSuppli DRAM
dynamics market brief, DRAM
content in smartphones will expand to 666 megabytes (MB) this year,
up from 453 MB in 2011 and 202 MB in 2010.
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The average density of DRAM chips in smartphones is also
climbing and becoming more uniform, IHS said. The 4-gigabit (Gb)
DRAM chip owns a 37 percent share of smartphone market, with 8-Gb
chips owning 36 percent. Next year, however, the 8-Gb density
will own almost half the market share (46 percent), while 4 Gb will
decline to 28 percent, IHS said.
The monster 16-Gb DRAM, now 2 percent of the smart-phone market, is expected to soar
to 15 percent next year, overtaking 4 Gb and 8 Gb by 2013 and 2014, and
own more than half the market (56 percent) by 2015, according
to the IHS forecast.
"As memory has increased in smartphones, the industry has moved from
a complex world featuring differing memory densities, to a simpler
space where phones look increasingly similar from a memory
perspective," said Clifford Leimbach, analyst for memory demand
forecasting at IHS.
Demand for so-called mobile DRAMs for applications such as smartphones has taken off in recent years, in part because vendors have
tweaked traditional memory architectures with low-power features
specifically for the market, but also because the mobile-phone market
is on fire, projected to ship 1 billion phones in 2015.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.