Flash Memory Revolution?
" Flash memory technology is seeing the kinds of rapid improvements we used to associate only with microprocessor chips. ''We've been doubling the density every year for the last six years now," said Jon Kang, senior vice president for memory technical marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, one of the world's top flash makers."
"More chip density means more storage capacity at a lower price. It means that flash memory is finally cheap enough to fight back against super-small hard drives, which had come to dominate the market for portable music players. And someday, flash might be cheap enough to replace hard drives in more substantial markets, like laptop computers."
"Flash-based devices store content on a chip, which unlike a hard drive contains no movable parts. This means flash players use less battery power -- 30 times less --than hard-drive players, as well as being much smaller and extremely durable," Bruno writes. "The trade-off is that flash memory chips have a limited storage capacity and a higher price than their hard-drive counterparts, which boast 10 times the capacity at half the cost. But flash costs are dropping dramatically. According to semiconductor research firm iSuppli, the price-per-megabyte cost for flash memory has fallen 56 percent in the last year. The firm projects the price will fall an additional 47 percent by next year and then another 33 percent by 2007."
Yet more evidence of ubiquitous computation. If in the next four years or so everyone in the developed world is going to be able to practice ubiquitous computation they are going to need a device that is very small, hard to break, consumes little energy, yet is able to store large amounts of information and process that information at very high speeds.
Well it looks as if the exponential increases in the efficiencies of information storage as demonstrated recently in flash memory advances will be able to solve a big part of that equation.
Flash memory is currently much more expensive than hard-drives but that will know doubt change in the near future. Already flash memory is encroaching on the micro-hard-drive business sector as is evidenced by the recently introduced i-pod nano. Soon all ‘smart-phones’, ‘pocket PCs’, etc. will become much more powerful because they will be able to store at least ten gigs of memory without the necessity of a greater power-source, larger space, or worries about fragility. This will enable them to become very powerful tools, allowing them to store thousands of e-books, music, video, programs for navigation and business, etc.
Kiman Wong Questions, questions, always questions ... In our continuing effort to respond to reader mail, I'm going to answer more of the most popular questions that end up in my e-mail box.
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