Remember when smartphone makers started shipping handsets with 1GB of RAM? That was pretty exciting. But in mid-2013, most top-of-the-line Android handsets are shipping with 2GB.

Pretty soon that’ll seem pretty old school though.  SK Hynix has announced it’s working on 4GB LPDDR3 memory for mobile devices.

SK Hynix

Samsung also recently announced it’s working on LPDDR3 memory, but that company’s chips currently top out at 2GB.

Not only will the new solutions offer twice as much memory for mobile phones, they’ll also support faster speeds. New RAM modules from both companies is expected to hit speeds of 2133Mbps.

The chips should also use 10 to 20 percent less power than LPDDR2 RAM.

At this point it’s not clear that you really need 4GB of RAM to run a mobile operating system such as Android, Firefox OS, Tizen, Sailfish, or whatever else comes next… but generally speaking, faster RAM should lead to smoother performance, and more memory leads to better support for multitasking.

I also suspect it won’t take software developers long to write apps and operating systems that can really take advantage of the extra speed and capacity.

We’ll probably start to see phones with 4GB of RAM in 2014.

via Android Authority

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16 replies on “Smartphones to get more RAM: 4GB is the new 2GB”

  1. For Android is nothing enough ….. you can see how badly the system is designed. Most of the current PCs have 2 GB of ram, maybe 4GB. Most of the mobile operating systems (WM and iOS) only recently upgraded to 1GB, but works much better and faster on 512MB than latest android on 2GB with 4xmore CPU power ….. Android asking 4GB RAM and 8core CPU for phones or tablets is just abomination ….. when the company is out of their ability to improve CPU architecture, then you start adding another cores to virtually increase raw power …. PC x86 CPUs start multicore architecture quite recently, most of the PCs have 2 cores, rarely 4 and that’s it (well, there are some rather low-end 8core AMDs these days …. but my point exactly). 4 cores for android is the latest minimum and mainstream ….. now they started to put 8 cores in it, which is unbelievable. You can see that ARM is at the end of it’s life …. or maybe they will introduce 16core next year?:o)
    I personally would rather invest in something much cheaper, faster and power efficient like WP phone or iPhone (well this one is not cheaper, but it has the same price as some overpriced Samsung S4 ….)

    1. Yes, they annonced 16 core for next year, but you didn’t understand that windows phone and iPhone use ARM architecture too, and that 8 core = 4 very low power cores, and 4 more efficient cores that work only when needed. They all together use (and the whole system), use less than a single Intel CPU (well Intel lie a little, by removing North bridge or other part of they TDP number, and still reach too time the TDP of an ARM, with less computing power).

      1. Uh, no… Intel’s mobile chips are SoCs! Just like ARM SoCs that means all the chipsets are combined and integrated into a single chip!

        So there’s no separate North or South bridge anymore for the ATOM… and the power efficiency has been tested for the present 32nm ATOM SoCs…

        https://www.anandtech.com/show/6529/busting-the-x86-power-myth-indepth-clover-trail-power-analysis

        https://seekingalpha.com/article/1427041-intel-busting-another-false-myth

        https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/atom-z2760-power-consumption-arm,3387.html

        While Intel claims Bay Trail will be up to 5x more power efficient than Clover Trail… that remains to be seen but each FAB advance tends to help improve power efficiency by at least a little bit and they’re also improving the architecture for the first time in about 5 years, which also tends to help…

        So, we’ll see but ARM’s main advantage is they can go lower but that’s for more basic devices and the market is mainly heading towards more power devices… Thus why ARM going 64bit even matters!

  2. Keep in mind that more RAM generally means that battery time suffers. Let’s hope battery technology catches up sooner rather than later.

      1. Mobile RAM, which is now moving to LP-DDR3 btw, is specifically optimized to be more power efficient and support the low power states that allow mobile devices to power sip into the mw ranges.

        Similarly, they use eMMC instead of SSD for the same reason… they just take a hit on performance compared to the laptop/desktop DDR RAM and SSD… but they’re also cheaper as well…

        But it is true that more RAM can mean increased power usage, and these are likely to go into systems that will also have other parts that will consume more power… like really high resolution screens that could increase power by up to 30%, but it’s a trade off for increased performance and overall more useful devices.

        While, they can compensate a bit with higher capacity batteries as higher capacity RAM chips also means more free space they can then spare for the battery. Ditto for other parts like the SoC as they continue to move each new generation to increasingly smaller designs. Along with improved casing designs that allow them to be thinner and lighter, thus freeing up even more space.

        Also, mobile optimized devices can power sip most of the time and so the hit on battery life will vary for mainly the people who put their devices under constant heavy work loads but most people don’t… but of course that will vary per individual…

  3. It will probably show the most benefits on Windows 8 tablets, since Windows developers are used to having gigabytes of RAM available.

  4. As gaming becomes a bigger part of Android (tablets and STBs especially) I can see the eventual need for more memory. Not sure it can really be used today but why wait?

  5. Problem with this is mobile OS are still all 32bit, and ARM is also still only 32bit… So they won’t be able to make full use of 4GB of RAM…

    Intel can probably push 64bit for Bay Trail but they seem to not want to push that advantage yet and only mention support for Windows 8 32bit for Bay Trail-T for tablets… and will apparently only push 64bit for Bay Trail-M and D, but those versions will also support SATA 2.0 and DDR3L RAM… Though they still support eMMC and LPDDR3 RAM is they want to push power efficiency for certain models…

    Anyway, it’ll probably have benefit for the Windows 8 tablets as a desktop OS is more likely to benefit from the extra RAM than a Mobile OS…

      1. LPAE (Large Physical Address Extension) is just a work around, translating the 40-bit physical memory addresses to 32-bit virtual memory addresses…

        You can do the same thing with a desktop OS, but it’s not the same as actually working with full 64bit OS and hardware and adds both overhead and doesn’t give the full benefits of working at 64bit.

        1. Products with Cortex-A50 série (A53 and A57), that are full 64bits ARM processors, will just go out at the same time that this RAM. Linux kernel already manage it since one year (so, Android, Chromium, GNU/Linux, Bada, Tizen, Firefox OS, are already ready for it for about one year).

          1. No, Cortex A50 series isn’t due out till the later half of 2014, and that’s the earliest as long as there isn’t any delays…

            One of the reasons is because they’re waiting for FinFETs to become part of the FAB but the ARM manufacturers won’t start employing them until the 16nm half node and 14nm FABs start being produced.

            Right now, companies like TSMC are just getting ready to start producing 20nm by the end of this year or early next year.

            While GloboFoundries seems to be trying to skip a FAB generation and go straight to 14nm but it will still take them time.

            In either case, they have to be careful because delays can easily add additional half year or more to the time table. Like it did for the 28nm FAB roll out and is why we’re only now seeing 28nm ARM SoCs really starting to be pushed out in quantity when they were originally due over 6 months ago!

            In the meantime, the 32nm SoCs can still start using RAM up to 4GB… they just won’t be making full use of them until the ARMv8 architecture gets implemented, but that still means up to 3.25GB +/- would still benefit for things like multi-tasking, etc.

            Also, no… Android may share Linux Kernel but that’s it! An OS is more than just a Kernel and Android only really uses it for the hardware anyway!

            Besides, it’s not so much just the OS support but the app support that will be needed and it will be a very long time before they catch up… especially, since most of them don’t need to as they run fine on 32bit and it’ll be quite awhile before there are any powerful enough apps on Android that could actually need more than 4GB of RAM.

            Mobile OS and apps are by design intended to be very light and easy to run. While heavy resource programs are intended for work/productivity that isn’t yet required in mobile devices.

            This will change eventually, but the hardware will offer support long before the software does…

            Really, it took over a decade for it to happen for the traditional PC market and it’s very doubtful it will happen much faster for the mobile market…

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