updated 03:15 pm EST, Fri December 14, 2007
Fujitsu today unveiled a new form of memory it believes can replace flash storage. Called a new variant on resistive RAM (or ReRAM), the technology is designed to maintain data after losing power, as with flash, but to have the fast speed of the RAM used for temporary memory in most devices. Sending a current to the memory changes its resistive quality and allows information to be read or written quickly. Using nickel oxide wrapped in titanium and with a platinum shell, the new format is both more power-efficient and faster: sending 100 micro-amperes of current will wipe memory while an entire operation can be finished in 5 nanoseconds. The speed is 10,000 times faster than earlier attempts at ReRAM, Fujitsu explains.
The advancement could greatly improve load times for mobile devices such as cellphones and media players, which often have to carry separate banks of RAM and NAND flash memory to run at full speed while still offering an adequate level of storage. Fujitsu describes the technology as in the early stages and does not anticipate any short-term products as a result of the breakthrough, having just created a transistor using ReRAM. The advancement is expected to be ready for actual devices within the next few years.