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Tablets, smartphones to get speed boost with new memory

Agam Shah | Sept. 30, 2011
A new form of mobile DDR3 memory that can speed up tablets, smartphones and laptops could appear in devices starting as early as late next year, with adoption ramping up in 2013, analysts said on Thursday.

JEDEC is still developing LPDDR3 specifications, but that could be finalized soon, Howard said. Backing of the mobile memory could ramp once the specification is finalized. The world's top DRAM makers include Samsung, Hynix Semiconductor, Elpida Memory, Micron and Nanya, all of which are members of JEDEC.

JEDEC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on when it would finalize LPDDR3, but analysts estimated that it could be finalized by the end of the year.

In prior renditions of synchronous DRAM such as SDRAM, DDR and DDR2, JEDEC pushed hard on speed without worrying too much about power, said Jim Handy, director of Objective Analysis. With DDR3 and LPDDR3, JEDEC worked to bring the power specifications back down while continuing to increase speed.

But adoption typically depends on other parts of the system, Handy said. For cell phones it's less sudden than it is in 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 LPDDR3.

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

It's hard to predict when Samsung will ramp up production of LPDDR3, Handy said.

"Samsung has announced products lately that don't show up in production systems for over a year," Handy said.

 

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