February 15, 2001–Munich, Germany–Infineon Technologies AG recently introduced a new DRAM product line for the strongly growing market of handheld devices. The “Mobile-RAM” family combines three important features specifically needed in handheld battery-powered applications such as very low power consumption, small form factor, and low cost per bit.
The Mobile-RAM is a low-power SDRAM mounted in a chip-size ball-grid-array package (BGA). Initially based on the 128-Mbit DRAM density, this product fulfills the requirements of handheld applications such as smart phones, personal digital assistants, and palm-sized computers. The 8M x 16 organization of the first member of the Mobile-RAM family allows it to be used in 16-bit and 32-bit bus environments.
Power consumption of the Mobile-RAM is reduced by up to 80% depending on the operating conditions and system design. This power reduction is achieved by a reduced operating and I/O voltage, and other integrated power management techniques.
Standard SDRAMs operate at 3.3V, whereas the Mobile-RAM operates at 2.5V for the memory array and 1.8V (or 2.5V) for the I/O section. Power management features include provisions for a temperature compensation of the self-refresh rate and optional partial array select to restrict self-refresh to only a portion of the DRAM. Both features contribute greatly to minimize the power consumption of the device in the active and stand-by modes.
“This new 128-Mbit device is the first product on our Mobile-RAM roadmap which will soon be extended to the 256-Mbit generation,” says Heinrich Florian, director of Product Marketing of Infineon’s Memory Product Division. “The Mobile-RAM is only one example of Infineon’s product offerings for the strongly growing memory demand in the information and communication market segment.” In addition to the Mobile-RAM, Infineon offers embedded solutions and is developing non-volatile memory technologies for this market like ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) and magnetic RAM (MRAM).
The world market for personal digital assistants, the largest of the target markets for the Mobile-RAM, was around 10 million PDA units in 2000, and is projected by Dataquest to grow approximately 46% per year to reach 34 million units in 2004. High-end PDAs today come with up to 64 Mbytes of DRAM, but with software becoming more sophisticated and large numbers of applications becoming available at a quick pace, memory content per system is expected to grow above the industry average.
First samples of the 128-Mbit Mobile-RAM organized 8M x 16 will be available in Q2 2001. Volume production is expected to start later this year.