But we'll continue hoping for tech miracles. And miracles have been reported for a new kind of memory chip, says Chris Whalen, who writes a semiconductor newsletter called the Edge in Hampton, N.H. Samsung Electronics will start equipping cell phones with ferroelectric memory chips.
This new technology combines the best features of traditional memory technologies such as DRAMs, SRAMs and Flash memory. DRAMs are cheap and capacious, but they forget everything when the power goes off. Like the Flash memories used now in phones and in digital music players, the new ferroelectric chips can keep their data without constant power. But ferroelectic memories are also fast, like the pricier chips known as SRAMs.
What remains for Samsung to do, says Whalen, is to make the new memories as big and cheap as DRAM -- the bread and butter memory technology sold by the Korean firm and rivals such as Micron Technology. DRAM chips hold up to 256 million bits of information. So far, Samsung's ferroelectric memory holds only four million bits.