Memristors are pretty neat. By adjusting the direction of current flow through them, these electrical components can be made to change their resistance. More importantly, memristors are capable of retaining their resistance after the current flow is cut off. Combine enough of ’em together, and you’ve got an alternative solid-state storage technology.
A little more than a year ago, HP teamed up with Hynix to produce memory based on memristor technology. Dubbed ReRAM, this non-volatile memory promised lower power consumption than flash and the potential to be even faster. Now, according to HP Senior Fellow Stan Williams, we could see the first chips as early as 2013. Williams says "hundreds of wafers" have already been produced, and it looks like two versions will be available initially: a slower speed grade designed to supplant the flash memory in smartphones, and faster stuff primed for SSDs.
HP plans to license its ReRAM technology, and Williams points out that Samsung has an even bigger team working on memristors. Replacing flash memory is only the beginning, though. Williams expects non-volatile memristor chips to challenge volatile DRAM by as early as 2014.