MultiChip Packages (MCPs)are taking mobile handsets by storm and entering other handheld markets, too. The impetus is the need to strike an increasingly delicate balance between rising memory density and smaller size, decreased power consumption, lower cost, and faster performance. To succeed, designers must understand the advantages of using these devices and identify and partner with suppliers who can meet their specific needs.
The market for memory MCPs based on NAND and NOR flash memory technology will grow to 658.7 million units in 2007 from 194.7 million in 2003—a compound annual growth rate of 37.6%, predicts market research firm iSuppli (see the figure). MCPs already have become nearly ubiquitous in high-end mobile phones and are rapidly proliferating in lower-end models. Their use also is growing in digital still cameras, digital video cameras, mobile GPS systems, information capture consoles, and other handheld devices.
About 15 suppliers participate in the MCP market. Yet many of them must outsource portions of their MCPs, such as certain memory die. A constrained memory supply could affect MCP availability, so makers of handheld products must know which MCP elements their vendors outsource. They also should be prepared for potential supply disruptions, especially now that demand is on the upswing.
Handheld designers must cultivate close relationships with their MCP suppliers as well. With density requirements constantly changing, designers must know their suppliers' roadmaps and future capabilities. Designers and suppliers need to share data extensively and plan several product generations ahead to develop MCPs that meet market needs.
Other handheld designers should work with suppliers who offer MCPs tailored to their products. Most MCPs today specifically target mobile phones. Suppliers will need to develop infrastructure to support a broad range of applications. This infrastructure must include the required intellectual property, services, and support to diagnose and solve problems.
With a plethora of suppliers vying for a piece of the market, handheld designers will have the luxury of picking the best MCP partner to meet their needs.