Wireless Systems Design

Wireless-Data Demands Force Memory's Rebirth

This Memory Solution Could Provide The Backbone For The Large Embedded-Data Applications In Next Generation Handsets.

With the number of features in next-generation handsets on the rise, the adoption rate of data-based capabilities is surging. In the handset itself, this trend poses a significant strain for both code execution and data storage. To take some of the pressure off of these areas, Intel Corp. has released two new members of its existing StrataFlash Memory product line.

Specifically, the LV18/LV30 StrataFlash Wireless Memory Solution is designed for wireless handsets that require code execution and large data storage (see figure). Featuring 1.8-V operation, it works to promote longer battery life. The solution also boasts memory densities of up to 1 Gb.

To ease the design process for wireless handset makers, the LV18/LV30 utilizes a stacked chip-scale packaging (Stacked-CSP) technique. The solution can therefore offer a common package pinout and the same Intel Flash software solution across a range of densities. The result is simplified integration and density upgrades. As an added benefit, the Stacked-CSP approach offers significant space savings. It combines the high-density Intel StrataFlash Wireless Memory with flexible random-access-memory (RAM) options in densities up to 1 Gb. Keep in mind that all of these features come in a single package that's just 8 × 11 mm in size.

At the heart of the LV18/LV30 Wireless Memory Solution is Intel's fourth-generation Multi-Level-Cell (MLC) technology and 0.13-µm process lithography. Using MLC, the LV18/LV30 solution vows to double the amount of information that's stored in each memory cell. In the device, working space is provided for the three types of memory functionality that are required by today's wireless developer: code execution, data storage, and RAM. The LV18/LV30 StrataFlash Wireless Memory Solution also contains a segment that has been specifically optimized for data storage.

Of course, the LV18/LV30 Memory Solution also enjoys the same features as previous StrataFlash family members. It offers the same wireless performance for code execution that's available with the L18/L30 StrataFlash products. Yet it sets itself apart by attaining performance that wasn't previously achieved.

Like all StrataFlash products, the LV18/LV30 stores 2 b of information in each memory cell instead of just 1. But the data segment of the LV18/LV30 has been created to deliver an even more cost-effective solution. This solution also offers features like Read-While-Write/Erase (RWW/E) operation, burst- and page-read modes, and support for eXecute In Place (XIP). These aspects culminate in a cost-effective, high-density data storage solution that aptly targets next-generation handsets.

The new memory solution also includes a flexible 8-Mb multi-partition architecture. That architecture allows for changing code and data requirements. A Common Flash Interface (CFI) makes the solution compatible with future products. Finally, a one-time programmable protection enables traceability, license control, and system authentication. Up to 64 b can be programmed by the factory with a unique identification (ID), while 2 Kb can be programmed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Buffered enhanced factory programming (Buffered EFP) works to speed MLC Flash programming by up to 80%. Moreover, the LV18/LV30 comes with a selection of Intel Flash-management software. That software can be used to help manage code execution and data maintenance in one device.

There's little doubt that next-generation wireless handsets will require memory storage for large embedded-data applications. Without such memory, applications like camera images and audio and video files will simply be impossible to accommodate. For the wireless systems engineer, the trick is to obtain access to this memory in a low-cost manner. In addition, the memory must be kept from consuming too much chip real estate. Intel's wireless memory solution claims to meet both of these requirements.

The LV18/LV30 StrataFlash Wireless Memory System is currently sampling. Production volumes are slated to begin shipping in February. Pricing will vary according to a customer's specific Flash and RAM memory requirements.

Intel Corp.
2200 Mission College Blvd., P.O. Box 58119, Santa Clara, CA 95052-8119; (408) 765-8080, www.intel.com.

TAGS: Intel
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