Startup Claims Game-Changing Memory Advancement - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
News
5/19/2009
07:37 PM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
[Cyberattacks] Using Data as Your First Line of Defense
Aug 10, 2017
Attend this webinar to learn how you can determine which threats pose the greatest danger to your ...Read More>>

Startup Claims Game-Changing Memory Advancement

Unity Semiconductor is hoping its technology will become a replacement for the flash memory used today in solid-state drives for laptops and smartphones like Apple's iPhone.

A Silicon Valley startup that has been secretly developing a NAND flash alternative for seven years introduced Tuesday memory technology that it claims is faster than flash and packs far more storage in the same amount of space.

Unity Semiconductor is hoping its technology will become a replacement for the flash memory used today in solid-state drives for laptops and in chips that provide storage for smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, portable media players, and other mobile devices. NAND flash is used in such devices because it can retain data when the power is off.

Unity claims to have built prototypes of its "CMOx" memory technology and plans to start offering a 64-Gb chip by mid-2011, which is about twice the capacity of today's NAND flash technology.

"We see ourselves in the two-year horizon for production volumes of our first product, a 64-Gb storage-class memory," Darrell Rinerson, president and chief executive of Unity, said in a statement. Rinerson is a former executive of Micron Technology and Advanced Micro Devices.

Unity's innovation is in the way it stores data. While traditional flash memory uses transistors, Unity has based its technology on ions and the way they move through certain materials. As a result, the company can stack more memory on top of each other to increase storage on the same footprint, while achieving five to 10 times the write speed of today's flash, Rinerson said.

"We believe only CMOx has the small cell size to beat NAND flash in cost and density," he said.

To get its product to market, Unity will have to partner with a major semiconductor manufacturer. The company has not named a partner. In addition to making memory products, Unity also plans to engage in "selective intellectual property licensing," which means it's likely to try to avoid having its technology commoditized.

The flash memory market has been struggling for quite awhile from oversupply and more recently suffered a second blow from poor consumer electronics sales in the economic recession. As a result, the market is expected to see a 15% drop in revenue this year and is not expected to regain profitability until 2010, according to iSuppli.

How Unity does in a recovering market remains to be seen. The company's investors include venture capital firms August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Morgenthaler Ventures and an unnamed major hard-disk drive manufacturer. The company has raised a total of $75 million in funding to date.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the most innovative startup technology companies. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll