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Cypress exits PSRAM, sells biz to Taiwan's ESMT

Posted: 17 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pseudo SRAM? memory chips? PSRAM market?

Exiting the pseudo SRAM (PSRAM) market, Cypress Semiconductor is selling off the business to Taiwan's Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology Inc. (ESMT) for an undisclosed amount.

The company offered little explanation as to why they were exiting the business, describing the deal as "consistent with Cypress's new strategic direction." The assumption is that the business just wasn't performing well enough to remain a part of the company's portfolio. The company said ESMT will continue all delivery and support to Cypress's current PSRAM customer base.

ESMT primarily focuses on low-density memory chips, ranging from 1Mbit to 256Mbit, and used in products such as DVD players, LCD monitors, MP3 players, STBs and video game systems.

The Taiwan company is eager to build up its handset business and said the deal will "significantly" boost its revenue and immediately put it on the radar of handset makers. "It will enable the company to quickly cut into the supply chain of major cellular phone makers, since Cypress is one of the world's top-tier PSRAM suppliers," said Hsing-Hai Chen, chairman at ESMT.

By using a PSRAM architecture that employs a single-transistor DRAM cell rather than a six-transistor SRAM cell, PSRAM helps GPRS and UMTS phone makers add more bells and whistles to their units while maintaining system speed, a compact form and perhaps most importantly, relatively competitive pricing.

PSRAM is pin-compatible with SRAM, allowing chips to be used as drop-in replacements for the asynchronous SRAM currently used in many cellphone designs. The devices can also include a burst read and write mode that emulates a flash-memory interface.

Numerous other companies offer PSRAM, usually under other names, though. For instance, a number of memory companies have founded the CellularRAM work group, consisting of Cypress, Micron Technology, Qimonda, Renesas Technology, Etron Technologies, Hynix Semiconductor, Silicon 7 and Winbond Electronics. These firms have agreed on a common spec for pseudo SRAM as they develop it under the CellularRAM name.

Cypress was a key member of the CellularRAM camp. ESMT did not immediately respond to requests to clarify whether it will remain part of the CellularRAM alliance and collaborate with the companies on product roadmaps that may require specification changes.

ESMT's existing low power SDRAM product line includes 16-, 32-, 64- and 128Mbit devices for the handheld market. With the PSRAM product transfer from Cypress, ESMT's mobile RAM product line will expand to cover lower-density, low-power memory products including 2-, 4-, 8-, 16- and 32Mbit PSRAM devices.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times




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