MRAM to Allow Laptops to Sleep for "Years"

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that IBM is working with German manufacturer Infineon on a new technology that promises to extend laptop battery life substantially.

From WSJ‘s “IBM, Infineon Form Venture for Chip To Extend Battery Life of Handhelds” (paid subscription req’d):

International Business Machines Corp. plans a joint effort with Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG to make semiconductor chips that would extend battery life in handheld devices.

A major potential benefit from the new chips: a laptop computer could be left in standby mode for years without running down its battery — instead of eight to 10 hours, as is typical today. That would eliminate the time-consuming process of booting up a machine every time a user wants to check e-mail or write a memo.

Analysts said IBM could be among the first in the race to develop the technology, known as Magnetic Random Access Memory, or MRAM, which uses magnetic — rather than electronic — charges to store bits of data.

ZDNet’s Matthew Rothenberg is covering MRAM technology which is expected to go into production in 2004:

In a nutshell, IBM’s innovation — called magnetic random-access memory, or MRAM — uses magnetic rather than electrical charges to store data bits. They don’t require electrical power to retain data, vastly boosting the speed and flexibility of computer memory. IBM estimates that MRAM, which has been in development since 1974, will enter volume production in 2004.

If the boot fits …
Not surprisingly, TalkBack readers took varying views of the market potential of MRAM, as well as IBM’s assertion that MRAM will enable such niceties as “instant-on” computing that essentially eliminates boot-up times. They also crossed swords over IBM’s ability to capitalize on this new technology.

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