For over 50 years, both computers and mobile devices have depended upon NAND Flash as a memory module. It’s high time it needs a much needed replacement. Crossbar, a California based technology startup has come up with a ReRAM (or RRAM) design that they claim is capable of being commercialized. I know what you’re thinking, what on earth is ReRAM!?! ReRAM (Resistive Random Access Memory – do memristors ring a bell?) is just another form of RAM has been around for a while but with little success in becoming anywhere near being commercialized. The company has not announced that it is ready for mass production, but that they have successfully implemented the architecture on Silicon.
So How Does It Work?
ReRAM works by creating a resistance rather than directly storing charge, as in traditional memory. When an electric current is applied to the material, it changes the resistance of that material. This change in resistance is what is exploited for data storage. The new resistance state is then measured as, you guessed it, 1’s and 0’s, and READ or WRITE processes are initiated. ReRAM designs are low voltage, its endurance is far superior to flash memory, and the cells are much smaller and a lot faster. If you are a true geek, you might want to read the whole working as well!
What makes ReRAM an even better alternative than NAND Flash is that it is almost 20 times faster (140 MB per second WRITE speed as compared to 7MB per second for flash) than the best flash storage available today. An added bonus is that it has a lifetime of more than 10 years and it uses very low amounts of power. ReRAM is a technology that can take the mobile device industry by storm. The biggest problems we face with mobile devices is the terrible battery life and low data storage. ReRAM is capable of rectifying all these problems and giving us a phone capable of storing thousands of HD Videos with a playback time of over a week! A dream come true for many Android users!
The current estimate is that ReRAM will be ready for mass production by the 2017-2018 time frame. But there’s still no certainty that this technology will make it. Improvements made here may be applied to flash and manufacturers may take advantage of the characteristics of ReRAM and implement it in flash without having to change anything. It’s funny the industry, ain’t it?