URAM finds place in budding mobile TV segment

URAM, a memory technology developed to be embedded on chips, has found a place on mobile TV chipsets developed by Dibcom.

URAM (user-RAM), a memory technology developed to be embedded on chips, has found a place on mobile TV chipsets developed by Dibcom.

Dibcom, of Palaiseau, France, makes chipsets for low-power mobile and portable TV receivers used in products such as mobile phones, laptop computers and small TVs. The company specializes in speed. Its chipsets can pick up TV broadcasts in vehicles exceeding 130 miles per hour, according to its Web site and that of investor, Intel Capital.

The company tapped UMC of Taiwan to work with it on the memory portion of its chipsets. UMC's URAM was developed to handle the prolonged viewing of TV broadcasts using as little power as possible, which handsets and other small devices require, UMC said in a statement.

URAM has been around for years, but the memory could find a niche in the mobile TV market. Mobile phones traditionally use SRAM (static RAM), but URAM costs less and takes up as little as half the space as SRAM when used as part of a chip or chipset.

Japanese companies have been using URAM in mobile applications for a few years. Renesas Technology and Hitachi teamed up to create URAM cells for mobile-phone chips in early 2004, and Renesas has announced chip products using the technology since that time.

Other kinds of memory have been tweaked for the same purpose. NEC said last year it had developed MRAM (magnetoresistive RAM) cells able to replace SRAM in mobile devices as well, and said the technology would be available for use in the future.

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