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Micron expands memory products to IoT, connected car

Posted: 28 Nov 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:memory  connected car  Internet of Things 

Editor's Note: EE Times' Janine Love met with Micron's executives and talked about the company's new line of products targeted at Internet of Things and connected car applications.

In November, Micron went big in DRAM, flash, SSD, and eMMC, most notably with announcements at Electronica. I caught up with Amit Gattani, senior director of segment marketing, and Kris Baxter, senior director of Micron's Embedded Business, earlier this month.

Micron's Electronica news mostly focused on products aimed primarily at IoT and automotive applications. Industry requirements will differ, especially in the security level, temperature range, latency, performance, and power required by each application.

Internet of Things

Gattani noted that Micron expects machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity to grow six times over the next five years, with applications such as surveillance, smart metering, vendor machines, factory automation, and health monitoring. Baxter pointed out that the growth of M2M will require more cellular modules, which will drive the requirement for industrial applications with extended temperature ranges and product longevity with the right form factors. "We are actively engaged in developing solutions with key module makers, including ublox, ZTE, and Sierra Wireless," he said.

What makes this challenging is the solutions must support 2G, 3G, and 4G technologies. For memory, this means that in addition to the NOR and DSRAM solutions that execute code out of DRAM for 2G, M2M memory modules must also support the newer store and download type architectures associated with 3G and 4G, where code is stored in NAND and executed out of the DRAM.

Micron

Micron announced a new line of multi-chip package (MCP) products for embedded/IoT applications.

The form factor challenges of M2M designs are supporting a trend in multi-chip memory packages, where non-volatile memory (such as NAND or parallel NOR flash) is combined with a RAM (such as low-power DRAM or pseudo-SRAM/PSRAM) in a single package. In response to these market drivers, Micron announced a new line of multi-chip package (MCP) products in a range of performance and form factors, from 8GB SLC NAND flash + 4GB LPDDR2 DRAM to 32MB Parallel NOR flash + 16MB PSRAM. Sizes include 6mm x 4mm (NOR + PSRAM), 8mm x 9mm (NAND + LPDDR), and 8mm x 10.5mm (NAND + LPDDR2) packages. "These products save board space, reduce pin count, and improve routability, which allows them to satisfy smaller form factor requirements," said Baxter. As for availability, samples of these products are available today, with mass production available today for most products. (Some will be Q1 for mass production and qualification.)

The Connected Car

Also at Electronica, Micron announced an automotive product line that addresses on-board storage and data requirements of features such as infotainment, collision avoidance, sensors, and telematics. Supplying the connected car with memory is not a simple matter, as requirements differ. For instance, in-vehicle entertainment with its very high bandwidth needs leading edge density, such as DRAM and mass storage (eMMC and SSD), while telematics require NVM for code storage and execution in DRAM.

Microchip

There are a variety of memory requirements in the 'connected car.'

To satisfy the mass storage requirements of next-generation automobiles, Micron introduced its auto SSD, the M500IT and the auto eMMC 50. The team claims that the M500IT is the industry's first automotive-grade SSD, and it comes in 2.5" and mSATA form factors in densities from 60GB to 240GB. It will be broadly available in 2015. The new eMMC product is available in densities from 4GB to 128GB. The Micron team tells me that this next-generation product was developed for higher-performance applications, and it interfaces with new features and chipsets that operate at higher frequencies. This product is available in JEDEC-compliant automotive versions as well as standard consumer packages.

I asked about how these products are tested. Baxter said that qualification/validation begins at the silicon level and continues through the system level. "This is particularly true in automotive, where we are driving to zero defects," he said "We have high levels of screening in fabs as well as burn ins."

- Janine Love
  EE Times





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