RRAM (Resistive RAM) and "Memrisitor" non-volatile memory technology has been theorized about in the past, but it is finally starting to make its way into actual products. Specifically, Panasonic announced a new series of 8-bit MN101R microcomputers that feature RRAM memory for storage.
The Panasonic microcomputers are intended to be used in environmental sensors, healthcare monitors (blood pressure, activity, et al), fire alarms, and electronic passports. Panasonic expects to ship a million of these ReRAM-equipped boards a month. The company claims that the move from NAND flash to ReRAM results in up to a 50% power savings and increased memory durability supporting as much as 10-times higher re-write cycles. Additionally, the ReRAM is five times faster at writes than both NAND flash and EEPROM due in part to not having to perform a data erase during each write.
Panasonic and Crossbar (a start-up working on RRAM) have some impressive figures to share, but enthusiasts should not get their hopes up just yet. The Panasonic microcomputers are using a scant 64KB of ReRAM paired with 4KB of SRAM. While a good first step, the technology still has a ways to go before we start to see it enter mobile devices and traditional PCs.
With that said, it does have a lot of potential, and I’m excited to finally see an actual physical product come out of all the resistive RAM research!
More information on the Panasonic MN101R series and the ReRAM technology can be found here.