Mobile Handset Industry Leaders Form a Working Group to Drive New Memory Interface Standard
ARM, Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, and ST Microelectronics Form Working Group to Create a New Industry Standard for Mobile Memory
SUNNYVALE, Calif., April. 2008 – ARM, Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, and STMicroelectronics today announced the formation of a working group committed to creating an open standard for next-generation memory interface technology targeting mobile devices. This first-of-its-kind memory standard for dynamic random access memory (DRAM), named Serial Port Memory Technology (SPMT(TM)), will enable extended battery life, bandwidth flexibility, significantly reduced pin count, lower power demand and multiple ports by using a serial interface instead of the parallel interface commonly used in today’s memory devices. This technology will be ideal for mobile handset manufacturers and consumers because it will dramatically extend battery life while allowing high-performance media-rich applications that will be the norm on next-generation mobile phones.
The SPMT Working Group’s goal is to define a technology that reduces pin count by a minimum of 40 percent, provides a bandwidth range from 3.2GB/s to 12.6GB/s and higher, reduces input/output power by 50 percent or more to extend battery life, and provides the ability to use either a single port or multiple ports into a single SPMT-enabled memory chip. While initially targeted at the mobile handset market, the technology will also be in demand by other markets such as portable media players, digital still cameras and handheld gaming devices.
The Working Group came together to pioneer a new technology to meet the growing demand of manufacturers to extend battery life and increase the performance and functionality of handsets while reducing system cost for the devices. This is in response to mobile service providers’ demand for solutions enabling them to give consumers more data-intensive, media-rich capabilities such as video (including high-definition video), GPS, gaming, Internet access, e-mail, multimedia applications and music at a competitive price. The SPMT Working Group has been meeting since the third quarter of 2007 and is expected to organize a formal consortium later this year consisting of handset, memory and system-on-chip manufacturers and semiconductor IP providers with the intention of bringing the SPMT specification to the industry by the end of 2008.
“The need for faster, denser DRAM chips for handsets will continue to grow, particularly as the requirement for media-rich functionality escalates,” said Nam Hyung Kim, memory analyst, iSuppli. “It makes sense to develop an interface standard for DRAM integrating serial technology that offers a way to achieve higher bandwidth, pin count reduction and scalability not achievable with current interface technologies.”
“The increasing levels of integration in today’s SoCs demand greater bandwidth and performance from the communication fabric and memory system,” said Keith Clarke, vice president and general manager, Fabric IP, ARM, “This serial memory interface technology offers unique characteristics that enable ARM to further optimize these critical system components. Our participation in this group will enable timely access to this technology throughout our wide partner network.”
“The growing number of full-featured, media-rich mobile applications is creating an increased demand for more memory,” said JB Kim, senior vice president of technical marketing, Hynix’s memory group. “Serial Port Memory Technology will be the right solution to support the requirements for low pin count, low power and high bandwidth that will be required for these new applications.”
“We look forward to participating in the SPMT working group to help define a new-generation memory interface,” said Hee Chan Park, general manager, development procurement team, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Being able to significantly reduce pin count and increase bandwidth while keeping cost in check is vital to successfully introducing advanced and competitive products for our customers.”
As DRAM content continues to grow for the new generation of mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for current technologies to keep up with the demand for longer battery life, greater bandwidth and design flexibility while reducing overall system cost,“ said Jim Venable, head of Silicon Image’s Advanced Memory Technology Products. ”Serial Port Memory Technology will be a game-changer in the way mobile device developers design new products that deliver significantly better battery life and a higher-quality user experience.
“The constraints of physical size, pin-out, temperature and power consumption continue to be a formidable barrier in bringing media-rich applications to handheld products,” said Teppo Hemia, director of Mobile Chipset Platforms, STMicroelectronics. “By working together as an industry to standardize a memory interface technology, we anticipate enabling another big step in performance for mobile chipset technologies that expand the range of useful products available in the market.”
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