Getting Real With Phase-Change Memories

Getting Real With Phase-Change Memories

By Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Blog

The phase change memory market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 66.71 % to reach a market size worth US$12,450.978 million by 2026. This market was valued at US$347.914 million in 2019. A phase-change memory or CRAM (chalcogenide random access memory) is a type of computer non-volatile random access memory enabled by the peculiar properties of chalcogenide glasses. Upon heating these glasses, they transition from amorphous to crystalline. The growing trend to integrate new memory technologies benefits new generation memory technologies, and PCM leads the way. There have been many developments in the field of phase storage devices and solutions by major companies. Intel, one of the major players in the market, has been shipping and selling next-generation memory storage called 3D XPoint which is based on phase-change technology. These devices are sold by the company for Solid State Storage Devices, along with other related products. Several companies had developed phase storage technologies and solutions, including Micron. With phase-change memory embedded in its products, STMicroelectronics, one of the leading players in the market, had started sampling products in 2019. Based on 28nm FD-SOI technology, the company developed and manufactured an embedded phase-change microcontroller for the automotive industry. A new and emerging market, phase change memory is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

phase change memory market

In addition to reducing the power consumed by servers, PCM can reduce the space consumed by them. Additionally, PCM is highly scalable and reliable, making it a suitable option for large systems such as storage servers. The Phase Change Memory technology is regarded as an emerging technology. The technology works for non-volatile dual-in-line memory modules as well as solid-state drives with non-volatile memory. Additionally, the technology has more durability than flash and does not wear out as easily after regular use.

The Phase Change Memory Market Is Growing Due to the Increasing Use of Smartphones

The PCM market is experiencing growth due to the proliferation of smartphones in developing regions. A population of over a billion people and rising disposable income levels make India one of the most lucrative markets for smartphones. From 14.5 million shipments in 2011 to 150 million in 2020, the market has grown by a factor of 10. Even though Indian markets declined by 4% in 2020, they managed to outperform North America, Latin America, and Africa. The two largest manufacturers, Xiaomi and Samsung, hold the top two positions with 28% and 18% market shares, respectively, as of the second quarter of 2021. With COVID-19-induced lockdowns, sales of smartphones through online channels increased in 2020. IDC estimates that online channels will contribute 48% of total sales in 2020, up 12% from last year. Further, as a result of the festive season, sales at physical stores increased by 5% YoY in the fourth quarter of 2020, in part due to foot traffic in physical stores increasing during the festive season. (Source: ibef.org). In addition, Ericsson estimates that the number of smartphone subscribers in the world exceeds six billion and will continue to grow by several hundred million in the coming years.

The highest number of smartphone users are in China, India, and the United States. A staggering 7516 million smartphone subscriptions are anticipated by 2026. As reported by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)'s Consumer Technology Sales and Forecast Study, smartphones generated a revenue of 77.5 billion dollars in 2019. As a result of their portability and flexibility, smartphones and tablets are also gaining in popularity. The sale of smart devices is expected to increase in the coming years, resulting in an increase in phase-change memory technologies. With rapid technological advancements over the past few years, newer technologies have surpassed aging ones on multiple fronts, including the capability to scale to smaller devices and the ability to integrate sensors with impressive performance, endurance, and yield characteristics. 

The Adoption of Big Data Storage Is on the Rise 

Phase change memory technology is in demand due to the advent of low power consumption memory modules. With the new improved computer, memory and CPU ecosystems are close operationally and physically, as they are merged in a novel way. PCM technology will be in high demand for storing big data in industries such as IT and R&D due to the growing market of big data analytics. In September 2021, Cloudflare, which operates 250 data centres worldwide, announced its first foray into infrastructure services with the launch of the R2 cloud storage service. Additionally, Alibaba Cloud, APAC's largest cloud service provider, announced plans to open data centres in South Korea and Thailand in 2022. In April 2021, IBM announced major innovations in its storage portfolio optimized the access and management of data in increasingly complex hybrid cloud environments, thereby improving data availability and resilience. These developments will propel the phase-change memory market to grow. 

North America Will Dominate the Market

In North America, the phase change is primarily driven by changes in consumer preferences that have led to the growth in demand for mobile devices that consume less power yet work at low latency, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. As a result of technological advances, the Internet of Things has emerged, which will also play a substantial role in driving the market in the region. Further, IoT vendors have a strong presence in the region, which supports the growth of the market. Cisco Systems, Inc., Intel Corporation, and IBM Corporation are just a few. A Cisco IoT portfolio enhancement in February 2020 made it possible for partner service providers to optimize cellular IoT environments and enable new 5G use-cases. 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and other new wireless technologies will be able to support more devices as well as new IIoT use cases and will give service providers the opportunity to compete with cellular IoT offerings. This will further boost the phase change memory market. 

COVID-19 Insight:

The phase change memory market was negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Numerous universities and organizations around the world have been adversely affected by COVID-19, halting research advancement. Dropping end-user demand directly impacted the market for phase-change memory. It is, however, likely that phase-change memory demand will rebound quickly as the economy improves.