The folks at Samsung have put together the first working prototype of Phase-change Random Access Memory, a new type of memory that combines the speed of conventional RAM with the non-volatile nature of flash memory. According to Samsung, PRAM offers 30 times the performance and 10 times the life span of flash. Furthermore, they claim its cells are the smallest of any working memory without inter-cell noise, making it highly scalable.
Since PRAM also requires fewer process steps to produce than NOR flash, Samsung expects the new memory type to replace NOR within the next ten years. Availability will begin some time in 2008, starting with high-density 512Mb (64MB) versions. Samsung believes PRAM will be especially popular in multi-function handsets and other mobile devices likely to benefit from its faster speeds.