SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Everspin Technologies Inc.--the MRAM spin-off of Freescale Semiconductor Inc.--has rolled out its first devices under its new corporate identity.
Everspin (Chandler, Ariz.) has introduced a new line of 1- and 4-megabit MRAMs. As part of the new product lineup, the upstart is also debuting its first 0.13-micron MRAM--a 1-Mbit device geared for storage and other markets.
Magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is a technology that uses the magnetism of electron spin to provide non-volatility without wear-out. Everspin's MRAMs are said to deliver the speed of SRAM with the non-volatility of flash in a single unlimited-endurance device.
Everspin is one of several companies chasing after the emerging MRAM market. Hynix, Grandis, IBM, NEC, Renesas, Samsung, Toshiba and others are also developing the technology.
MRAM is still ''in the early stages of development,'' said Saied Tehrani, Everspin's chief operating officer, but "we're seeing significant market penetration.''
Everspin claims to be the only MRAM vendor that is shipping product in volumes. In June, Freescale Semiconductor announced plans to spin off its fledgling MRAM business, taking an approach executives at the chip maker believe offered the most optimal way to commercialize a technology being positioned as an alternative to DRAM and flash memory products.
The spin-off, now called Everspin, is backed by a group of venture capital investors, including Freescale. The company has its products made on a foundry basis by Freescale and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC).
Even before it was spun-off in July, Freescale had already been shipping a line of 1-, 2- and 4-Mbit MRAMs, based on 16-bit data width organizations and housed in 44-pin TSOPII packages.
Now, in the new lineup, Everspin's MRAM product family includes 8- and 16-bit data widths and BGA package options, serving what it claims is the majority of battery-backed SRAM and nonvolatile RAM applications.
''This allows us to play in bigger markets,'' Tehrani said. ''Our new byte-wide MRAM products position us to capture existing and future designs in key applications such as computer storage systems, while our new BGA products save board area in compact consumer and computer products designs.''
Initially, Everspin has seen success in industrial applications. Behind the scenes, the company is looking to replace battery-backed SRAMs, which are supplied by Maxim, STMicroelectronics and others. "We enable customers to get rid of the battery, which is a reliability concern,'' he said.
The company also sees opportunities in the embedded space. Over time, MRAM--as well as FRAM, phase-change memory and others--are also separately being targeted for ''universal memory,'' that is, a product that could replace DRAM and flash.
It could take years before the market could see a ''universal memory.'' There is a wide gap in terms of density and price between the newfangled technologies and traditional memory.
Seeking another path towards ''universal memory'' technology, a growing number of companies are working on a promising second-generation MRAM, dubbed spin-transfer torque random access memory (STT-RAM). Grandis is developing STT-RAM, while Everspin, IBM and others are separately working on the technology.
"Toggle is in production today,'' Tehrani said. ''Spin torque is more of an R&D project for us and a number of other companies.''