HP pushing back memristor technology debut until at least 2014

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HP is now estimating they won’t be able to ship products containing memristor technology until at least 2014, going against predictions late last year that such technology would be feasible in 2013. The problem isn’t with the technology itself, as Stan Williams of the Memristor Research Group at HP puts it, but rather the economics and timing behind the introduction.

During a recent presentation at a conference in Oxnard, California, Williams said that HP would have something technologically viable by the end of next year. He goes on to explain that the science and technology are the easy parts and that literally any foundry could make memristors tomorrow.

The issue lies in the economics, investment and market readiness. HP is working with Hynix on the new technology, a major producer of flash memory. If they launched memristors now, it would seriously cannibalize Hynix’s flash memory division so the timing has to be just right.

Memristor technology is an electrical component that controls the stream of electrons flowing through it but can additionally “remember” its last charge. This is significant as one memristor is described as being as computationally powerful as 10 transistors.

HP and Hynix announced a partnership in 2010 to use this technology to develop Resistive Random Access Memory, or ReRAM. This is the same type of technology that Japanese researchers showcased last month as part of a hybrid solid state drive. The scientists claim the combination of NAND and ReRAM could result in SSDs that can write up to 11 times faster than today’s fastest drives.

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