Mobile Handset Embedded Memory Development Report, 2005-2006
  • Mar/2006
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With diversified functions and augmented performance of mobile phones, the ratio of the cost of handset's memory is increasingly rising, reaching the highest in some high-end phones and smart phones. Thus, it is necessary to study handset memory elaborately.

Growth Trend of Handset Memory Capacity

The average capacity of handset memory reached 180MB in 4Q, 2004. Then, the fast growth is maintained and the figure will be doubled to 415MB by Q2, 2006.

Roadmap for the Development of Handset Embedded Memory

In a handset, three areas require embedded memories. Firstly, RAM is needed for the temporary data storage of MCU and DSP. Secondly, NOR flash memory is used for storing system code of handset software. And the third one comes to NAND flash memory which is used for the storage of extended data. In general, RAM is a kind of volatile storage while NOR and NAND are both characterized by non-volatile storage.

Presently, RAM memories mostly adopt the form of PSRAM whose capacity is around  32MB-64MB. PSRAM can be divided into three types. Initially, CellularRAM is strongly supported by those companies: Hynix, Winbond, NanoAmp Solutions, Renesas, Micron, Infineon and Cypress. In the second place, COSMORAM is actively supported by Toshiba, NEC and Fujitsu. Thirdly, Samsung uses UtRAM. Because of its structure and features, the capacity of PSRAM can hardly exceed 256MB in a PCB of 108 square millimeters. And RAM with more than 256MB has to be supported by SDRAM. Many smart phones have already adopted the RAM with 512MB. In the future, PSRAM will be gradually declining while SDRAM will gain widespread popularity.

Key manufacturers such as Cypress, NEC, Toshiba and Mitsubishi which were formerly involved in handset-used PSRAM and SRAM cannot provide or manufacture SDRAM. Consequently, their competitiveness is greatly weakened. In comparison, manufacturers such as Hynix, Elpida, Infineon and Micron, which previously took up with DRAM production, began to embark on SDRAM production. Similar to RAM, NOR memory lacks of high density in spite of excellent code execution performance. Compared with NAND, NOR's low density hampers its development. NOR with 128MB-256MB or the maximum 512MB can be provided for low-end phones and medium-end phones. Once NOR's capacity exceeds 512MB, taking smart phones with outstanding performance for instance, manufacturers prefer to adopt NAND because NOR has a much higher cost and a relatively big-sized body. However, NAND has many defects such as the system being unable to start up directly. Concerning stability, there are hidden troubles such as bit-flipping, bad blocks and limited life in NAND. In addition, NAND adopts a non-standard interface and needs software management, which increases the cost of the system. Although this problem can be addressed through some structural methods, some technologies are required for the settlement of the above hidden troubles. M-SYSTEM helps NAND a lot to replace NOR. With the addition of software and hardware design (DiskOnChip) of M-SYSTEM, NAND flash memory can be equally used as NOR. At present, M-SYSTEM is mainly applied in smart phones or mobile phones with U-disk function. The relatively high price of M-SYSTEM hampers its development.

It will take three or four years for NAND to replace NOR. Non-smart top-grade 2.5G handsets adopts NOR ranging from 256MB to 320MB. Again, NOR capacity of general 3G mobile phones is around 256MB. There will be one or two years for NOR flash memory to exceed 512MB. In reality, 2.5G handsets will be the mainstream in the next three or four years, especially because domestic handset manufacturers pay much attention cost savings. NOR's capacity is currently led by 64-128MB.

NOR flash memory suppliers such as Sharp, SST and Spansion lack of NAND technology while other counterparts including Intel, STMicroelectronics, Renesas, Toshiba and Samsung are well experienced in NAND technology. Sharp and SST have decided not to set foot in the field of NOR. Only Spansion persists in developing ORNAND. The utilization efficiency of MCP flash memory is low and handset users can increase the capacity of NAND flash memory from 128MB to at least 1GB. In contrast, the utilization efficiency of micro hard disks can reach 100%.

At present, prices of 4GB flash memory and 8GB micro hard disks are about US$80 and US$70 respectively. If 4GB MCP adopted, users can actually utilize about 1GB. So, the demand of 2GB-above storage is better met by micro hard disks. No wonder that Samsung consecutively introduced handsets with 3GB, 4GB and 8GB micro hard disks. There will be at least three years before the average cost of handset memory equals to that of micro hard disk.

Some manufacturers also adopt independent flash memory chip to guarantee the utilization efficiency. But the current cost is comparatively high. Micro hard disks will be advantageous in the 4GB-above market in the next three years.

1 Overview of handset embedded memory
1.1 Brief introduction to handset embedded memory
1.2 Three varieties of PSRAM
1.3 CellularRAM
1.5 UtRAM
1.6 Mobile SDRAM
1.7 Competition between NOR and NAND
1.8 Handset micro hard disk and flash memory
1.9 Development trend of handset memory capacity
1.10 MCP tariff

2 Handset embedded memory market in China
2.1 Overview of handset embedded memory market in China
2.2 Usage analysis of Motorola handset memory
2.3 Usage analysis of Nokia handset memory
2.4 Usage analysis of Samsung handset memory
2.5 Usage analysis of Bird handset memory
2.6 Usage analysis of SonyEricsson handset memory
2.7 Usage analysis of Lenovo handset memory
2.8 Usage analysis of Amoi handset memory
2.9 Usage analysis of LG handset memory
2.10 Usage analysis of TCL handset memory
2.11 Usage analysis of CECT handset memory
2.12 Usage analysis of other brand handset memory

3 Study on famous manufacturers of handset embedded memory
3.1 Samsung
3.2 Intel
3.3 Spansion
3.4 STMicroelectronics
3.5 Micron
3.6 Toshiba
3.7 Sharp
3.8 Elpida
3.9 Infineon
3.10 Renesas
3.11 Hynix
3.12 NEC
3.13 Cypress Semiconductor
3.14 SST
3.15 Winbond
3.16 Powerchip Semiconductor
3.17 ProMOS Technologies
3.18 Macronix
3.19 M-System
3.20 Elite Semiconductor
3.21 Etron Technology
Roadmap for the development of handset embedded memory
Technical comparison between PSRAM and SRAM
Comparison among CellularRAM, Mobile SDRAM and general PSRAM
Main features of CellularRAM
Memory market shares of China's homemade handsets by shipment
Memory market shares of China's homemade handsets by bits
Statistics on average memory capacity of major handsets
Statistics on average memory capacity of camera handsets with 0.3 mega pixels
Statistics on average memory capacity of camera handsets with 1.3 mega pixels
Statistics on average memory capacity of camera handsets with 2 mega pixels
Memory capacity distribution of Motorola handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of Nokia handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of Samsung handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of Bird handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of SonyEricsson handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of Lenovo handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of Amoi handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of LG handsets newly released in 2005
Memory capacity distribution of TCL handsets newly released in 2005
Proportions of various DRAM products of Samsung, Q3, 2005-Q1, 2006
Statistics on flash memory sales and losses of Intel, Q4, 2004-Q4, 2005
Features of Intel's flash memory
Statistics on revenues and gross profit margins of ST's Memory Department, Q1-Q4, 2005
Statistics on market shares of DRAM manufacturers in Q3, 2005
Statistics on profits of Toshiba's Semiconductor Department, Q1, 2004-Q3, 2005
Sectional view of 6-chip MCP of Toshiba
Statistics on revenues and gross profit margins of Infineon's Memory Department in eight consecutive quarters
Mobile SDRAM decoding of Hynix
Mobile PSRAM decoding of Hynix
Major product output of Winbond Electronics, 2003-2004
DRAM output planning of Winbond Electronics in 2006
Proportion of DRAM products of Winbond Electronics, 2004Q3-2005Q4
Proportion of DRAM product dimensions of Winbond Electronics, 2004Q3-2005Q4
Operational performance of Powerchip Semiconductor in FY2001-2005
Mobile SDRAM products of Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology
Low Power RAM products of Elite Semiconductor Memory Technology
Operating revenues of Taiwan Foundry and Memory, 1991-2004 
Market distribution of IC products in Communications on Mainland, 2003-2006
Cooperative partners of Etron Technologies
Memory capacity of Motorola handsets by camera pixels
Memory capacities and prices of Motorola handsets
Memory capacity of Nokia handsets by camera pixels
Statistics on memory type and capacity of 12 Nokia handset models in 2005
Memory capacity of Samsung handsets by camera pixels
Memory capacity of Bird handsets by camera pixels
Statistics on memory type and capacity of 8 Bird handset models in 2005
Memory capacity of SonyEricsson handsets by camera pixels
Memory capacity of Lenovo handsets by camera pixels
Memory capacity of Amoi handsets by camera pixels
Statistics on memory type and capacity of 9 top-grade LG handset models
Statistics on memory type and capacity of 22 TCL handset models 
Flash memory products of ST
Mobile DDR SDRAM products of Micron
Mobile SDR SDRAM products of Micron
CelluarRAM products of Micron
Flash memory products of Sharp
Mobile DDR SDRAM products of Elpida
Mobile SDR SDRAM products of Elpida
Mobile SDRAM products of Infineon
CellularRAM products of Infineon
Multi-chip products of Renesas
Mobile SDR SDRAM products of Hynix
NOR flash memory products of NEC
Mobile RAM products of NEC
Some MicroPower SRAM products of Cypress
Some PSRAM products of Cypress
Dual-port MoBL products of Cypress
Some MPF (Multi-Purpose Flash) products of SST
Some CSF (Concurrent SuperFlash) products of SST
Some ComboMemory products of SST
Production status of Winbond's factories
Main product output of Winbond Technologies, 2003-2004
Main product sales of Winbond Technolgies in 2004
Pseudo SRAM products of Winbond Technologies
Low Power SDRAM products of Winbond Technologies
Low Power DDR products of Winbond Technologies
High-capacity flash memory products of Winbond Technologies
Serial Flash products of Winbond Technologies
Brief introduction to Powerchip Semiconductor
DRAM products and OEM product development and mass-production of Powerchip
Product sales of Powerchip Semiconductor in 2003-2005H1
Product output of Powerchip Semiconductor in 2003-2004
Brief introduction to ProMOS Technologies
Mobile SDRAM products of ProMOS Technologies

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