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OUM will not enter commercial market for 10 more years, predicts analyst

Posted: 14 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics? Ovonic unified memory? Intel? Samsung? OUM?

Ovonic unified memory (OUM) is not expected to hit the commercial market for at least another decade despite some major backing by Intel, Samsung, STMicroelectronics and others for the technology, according to Jim Cantore, president of consulting firm JLC Associates. Cantore said devices based on this phase-change memory technology will not be commercialized for "10 years," which is much longer than originally thought.

Intel Corp. has been doing R&D on OUM with partner Ovonyx Inc. since 2000, when the chip giant took a stake in that company. Intel's interest in OUM dates back more than 35 years to September 1970, when Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and OUM inventors from Energy Conversion Devices Inc. co-authored a technical article on the subject in an issue of Electronics.

STMicroelectronics has also been a licensee of Ovonyx technology for some time. Last year, Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. licensed the technology, as did Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., as a potential replacement for flash and DRAM.

Despite the backing, OUM is still a technology of the future. As reported, Intel said it sees current flash-memory technology sustaining until the end of the decade, pushing out the need for ''universal memory" until 2010.

Cantore said that "universal memory" technologies like OUM will be required in the future if or when NOR and NAND run out of gas. "At some point, NOR is going to be difficult to shrink," he said.

NAND is expected to scale down to least the 22-nm node and perhaps beyond, analysts said.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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