ARM, Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, and ST Microelectronics 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.”
More information: Serial Port Memory Technology (SPMT)
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 16/32-bit RISC microprocessors, data engines, graphics processors, digital libraries, embedded memories, peripherals, software and development tools, as well as analog functions and high-speed connectivity products. Combined with the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com.
About Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (HSI) of Icheon, Korea, is the world’s top tier memory semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (“DRAMs”) and Flash memory chips to a wide range of established international customers. The Company’s shares are traded on the Korea Stock Exchange, and the Global Depository shares are listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange. Further information about Hynix is available at http://www.hynix.com.
About LG Electronics, Inc.
LG Electronics, Inc. (KSE: 066570.KS) is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications, employing more than 82,000 people working in 114 operations including 82 subsidiaries around the world. With 2007 global sales of USD 44 billion, LG is comprised of four business units — Mobile Communications, Digital Appliance, Digital Display and Digital Media. LG is the world’s leading producer of mobile handsets, flat panel TVs, air conditioners, front-loading washing machines, optical storage products, DVD players and home theater systems. LG Electronics Mobile Communication Company (LG) is a leading producer of mobile handsets. LG creates handsets that provide optimized mobile experience to customers around the world with its cutting-edge technology and innovative handset design capabilities. With advanced wireless solutions, LG is rapidly expanding its presence and market share globally. For more information, please visit http://www.lge.com.
About Silicon Image, Inc.
Silicon Image, Inc. is a global leader in driving the architecture and semiconductor implementation for the secure storage, distribution and presentation of high-definition content in the consumer electronics, personal computing, and mobile device markets. With a rich history of technology innovation that includes creating industry standards such as SATA, DVI and HDMI, Silicon Image partners with the world’s leading entertainment creators and electronics manufacturers to deliver digital HD content to consumers anytime, anywhere, on any device. Silicon Image is also a leading provider of semiconductor intellectual property solutions
for high-definition multimedia and data storage applications. Additionally, Simplay Labs, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Silicon Image, offers robust testing tools, technologies, support services, consulting and product certification to electronics manufacturers to maximize performance, interoperability and ensure the highest-quality HD experience to consumers. With engineering, sales and customer support facilities located throughout North America, Asia and Europe, Silicon Image (Nasdaq: SIMG) is globally headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, please visit http://www.SiliconImage.com.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2007, the Company’s net revenues were $10 billion. Further information on ST can be found at http://www.st.com.