The mobile DRAM market is set for change as manufacturers look for new technologies which can meet the increasingly data-intensive demands of tablet and smartphone users, according to research from analyst IHS iSuppli.
Research earlier this week found that tablets were driving the increased use of higher levels of DRAM, up to around 1GB in most models.
Now the analyst firm is saying that DRAM in its current form may soon prove inadequate for the rise of data-intensive tasks.
Vendors are therefore assessing the use of low-power, double data rate 2 (LPDDR2), which iSuppli said is likely to become the dominant force in the mobile DRAM space this year, and could take as much as 40 per cent of the market by the summer.
This growth, of just nine per cent over the six month period, will help it displace current leading technology LPDDR1, and LPDDR2 will have a 58 per cent market share by the end of the year.
"Once a sleepy backwater of the DRAM market, mobile DRAM now is getting considerably more engineering and development attention from important players like Samsung, Hynix Semiconductor, Elpida Memory and Micron Technology," said Mike Howard, principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS.
Howard added that the power consumption benefits offered by the alternative would see it win favour among more hardware firms and appear in a wider range of devices.
"Unlike standard DRAM, its mobile counterpart uses reduced power, generates a smaller amount of heat and takes up less space-attributes especially suitable for smartphones and other small electronic devices, with their need for greater computing power but possessing limited real estate," he said.
However, the future-proof capabilities of LDPPR2 remain to be seen, and its inadequacies may be exposed as more powerful hardware is released, according to Howard.
"Mobile DRAM is also used in digital stills cameras, portable media players, portable gaming products and tablets," he said. However, it could be stretched when pushed to carry out the high level of data transfer required by more powerful hardware.
IHS iSuppli said that smartphone manufacturers are aiming at rates of around 13GB/s, which, it added, would need LPDDR2 to overclock to 800MHz, a figure that it sees as being out of its range.
Rambus Mobile XDR is expected to challenge LPDDR2, the firm added, while other competitors include Wide I/O and LPDDR3.
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