Advanced solid state non-volatile memory (NVM) chips, which retain data when the power is off, are expected to see phenomenal growth in the next five years. According to a recently published report from iRAP, Inc., ET-114: Advanced Solid-State Memory Systems and Products: Emerging Non-volatile Memory Technologies, Industry Trends and Market Analysis, the global market for emerging non-volatile random access memory products was projected to have reached $115 million in 2010. This market is expected to increase to $1.6 billion by 2015 at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 69% through the forecast period. Regionally, North America captured about 42% of the market in 2010, followed by Europe at 36%, and the rest of the world (ROW) with 22%, dominated by Japan, Korea and China.
Besides computers, today’s portable electronics have become computationally intensive devices as the user interface has migrated to a fully multimedia experience. To provide the performance required for these applications, the portable electronics designer uses multiple types of memories: a medium-speed random access memory for continuously changing data, a high-speed memory for caching instructions to the CPU, and a slower, non-volatile memory for long-term information storage when the power is removed. Combining all of these memory types into a single memory has been a long-standing goal of the semiconductor industry.
Seven emerging non-volatile memory technologies such as FERAM, phase change random access memory (PCM, PC-RAM, PRAM, OUM), magneto-resistive RAM (MRAM, STT RAM, Race Track Memory), resistance switching RAM (RRAM, ReRAM, CB-RAM, PMC-RAM, Nanobridge RAM CMOx, memistors), zero capacitor (ZRAM), quantum dot RAM and polymer printed memory are contributing to this growth. There are several other major findings of this report.
Major Findings of this report:
- The market for emerging non-volatile random access memory used as an embedded system on chip SOC cards in 2010 will be highest. This is followed by RFID tags used in goods, which are transported by high-speed detection conveyors, as in airports and smart airbags used in automobiles. The remaining four market applications are radiation-hardened memory in aerospace and nuclear installations, printed memory platforms such as smart cards, games, sensors, display, storage-class memory network and high end smart mobile phones.
- Among the seven emerging non-volatile random access memory technologies covered in this report, in 2010 the potential market for zero capacitor (ZRAM) is highest. The polymer printed memory market in 2010 will be next highest, followed by ferromagnetic RAM as a distant third.
- In 2015, phase change memory (PCM, PC-RAM, PRAM, OUM) will be highest. FeRAM will be next highest, followed by zero capacitor RAM (ZRAM).
- MRAM promises a high capacity, next-generation memory that can replace SRAM/flash combos and battery-backed up RAM as well as supplying improved non-volatile memory solutions for high-end mobile products. MRAM is already in the sampling stage. Freescale has just recently moved MRAM into volume production, and there are as many as 20 firms actively pursuing this opportunity. Meanwhile, important firms such as Intel, Freescale, Micron, Samsung, STMicroelectronics are beginning to settle on new technology platforms for the post-flash era and are finding ovonic and nano-crystalline memories increasingly satisfactory.