Memory chip venture says technology beats flash

Freescale Semiconductor launches a business to develop MRAM memory technology.

Is MRAM better than flash memory? That's a question a new venture business will try to answer.

Freescale MRAM chip
Freescale MRAM chip Freescale Semiconductor

Former Motorola chip unit Freescale Semiconductor announced Monday that it has joined with several venture capital firms to form an independent company focused on MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory).

The new company, EverSpin Technologies, will "expand its current portfolio of standalone MRAM and related magnetic-based products," the companies said in a statement.

MRAM uses magnetic materials combined with conventional silicon circuitry to deliver a high-performance permanent storage device.

But MRAM must compete with quickly evolving technologies like flash memory-based solid state drives. Flash memory is gaining ground because companies like Samsung, Toshiba, and Intel keep developing faster and higher-capacity devices.

(For more information on MRAM see MRAM-info. For an in-depth explanation of technologies used in MRAM see this explanation of electron spin and so-called spintronics.)

Freescale will transfer the MRAM technology, related intellectual property, and products to EverSpin Technologies and will retain an equity position in the new venture, the companies said. EverSpin is backed by venture firms New Venture Partners, Sigma Partners, Lux Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Epic Ventures.

"The decision to form a new company is intended to accelerate the adoption of MRAM," Lisa Su, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Freescale Semiconductor, said in a statement.

"Current Freescale MRAM products have strong traction in the market," Steve Socolof, managing partner of New Venture Partners, said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, EverSpin Technologies will take ownership of the MRAM manufacturing assets and will be based in Chandler, Ariz.

EverSpin will continue to supply products to Freescale's existing standalone MRAM customers. In addition, EverSpin will be a supplier to Freescale of MRAM technology for use in Freescale's embedded products.

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