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back to article Look out, Flash! Phase-change RAM IS HERE ... in Nokia mobiles

Micron is shipping phase-change memory to Nokia for use in its Asha smartphones. Phase-change memory (PCM) stores each binary bit using the electrical resistance of a chalcogenide chemical: when the material is an amorphous blob, its resistance is high and it represents a 0; in its poly-crystalline state, its resistance is low …

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Anonymous Coward

I imagine they're testing it in cheaper handsets first before moving it onto the bigger smartphones.

It shows Nokia are still cutting edge, wireless charging, super sensitive screens, optical stabilised camera lenses and now this.

So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech.

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Facepalm

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech.

When was that, again? As far as I can recall they've never pushed out new tech, but they have had a history of success refining existing tech at a premium price...

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> It shows Nokia are still cutting edge, ... and now this.

You may not have noticed but the PCM was developed and manufactured by Micron. It just happens that Nokia pushed this out first.

> optical stabilised camera lenses

It isn't really 'optically stabilised'. This is normally used to mean a real stabilising system such as actively shifting a lens or the sensor based on a feedback mechanism. All the 920 does is mount it on springs. In real tests (unlike the faked ones that Nokia fed us) it is not so great. A comparison with the ancient N8 shows that it is slightly worse overall:

http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/16286_Camera_phone_head_to_head_Noki.php

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Yes, but what use is the hardware

...when you only have locked down operating systems on it?

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Happy

actually it is great stabilization....and Nokia is innovative

There are videos about stabilization tests:

http://www.symbiantweet.com/video-nokia-lumia-920-extreme-optical-image-stabilization-test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx_wm2dxEU4

It appears the mechanical stabilization of the Nokia 920 is better than the iPhone's digital stabilization:

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/09/26/nokia-lumia-920-beats-iphone-5-with-video-image-stabilization/

Nokia was and continues to be innovative by deploying cutting edge technologies...other phones are more about hype. A few examples

. tessar lens (already in the N95 in 2007)

. first to deploy GPS in the N95, well before the iPhone

. inductive charging of Luminas

. NFC - a Nokia technology

. the capacitive touchscreen on the 920 also has the ability to be used by gloves, the first smartphone to do so

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Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@Zaphod.Beeblebrox)

There's really no ground on which you can give Nokia more credit for being amongst the first to ship a new kind of solid state storage that they've started buying in than you can give Apple for being amongst the first to ship capacitive multitouch based on the technology of an entire company they've bought and then funded for a few years.

Let's hear it for Micron and FingerWorks.

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Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

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Re: actually it is great stabilization....and Nokia is innovative

> It appears the mechanical stabilization of the Nokia 920 is better than the iPhone's digital stabilization:

Neither are stable. It may be that the 920 is worse than iPhone, but the Nokia shows that it is just springs because there are times when the phones are held steady, as shown by the iPhone steadying, and the Nokia bobbles around a bit. Compared to an actual stabilisation system (such as optical) rather than spring mounting these are both poor.

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Gimp

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@ThomH)

Wasn't giving Nokia props, just challenging those given to Apple since they don't deserve it, in my opinion, for pushing out new tech. Nothing wrong with what they do - taking existing tech, refining it, and selling it on at a premium price (and making wads of cash in the process). In fact, I applaud them for it. Just don't try to make it sound like theyare doing *new* tech.

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Trollface

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech.

"they have had a history of success refining existing tech"

Suppose you are right, I can see Apple Sanding Corners on rectangular objects and they did dump their own OS in favor of using an open source alternative as the backend

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Boffin

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@Zaphod.Beeblebrox)

Actually its the incorporation of tech which could also be innovative.

The poster is correct. And Nokia has a long lineage in being inventive. Where they've failed is in getting the products to market.

No one is saying that Nokia is perfect, however you need to give them credit where credit is due.

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Facepalm

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@Ian Michael Gumby)

Innovative <> new

Innovative can be new, but does not necessarily imply new. And in Apple's case, it is not.

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Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@Ian Michael Gumby)

> Innovative <> new

Innovate -> in (into) + nova (from Latin novus (new)) + tive (adjective)

At its very core it is and means 'new'.

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Gimp

Re: So much for the days of Apple pushing out new tech. (@Ian Michael Gumby)

Well then, I retract my statement, and reiterate what I originally said - Apple does not innovate, they refine existing tech and sell it at a premium price.

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Anonymous Coward

No, not testing in cheaper ones. It's a replacement for NOR flash at the moment, and is not yet available in large enough sizes for smartphones.

This was the case when the S40 PCM plans were made and AFAIK this is still the case.

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Boffin

Speed comparison

Not fair to take NAND block erase into account when looking at speed, block erases and wearleveling are normally done when the chip is idle (background garbage collection), you only notice this in benchmarks that completely fill the device....

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Re: Speed comparison

The flash controller doesn't have a clue of what is garbage and what isn't unless it's either filesystem-aware or you're using some form of TRIM-like operation. Neither of those should be taken for granted.

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Meh

Re: Speed comparison

Thanks for being clue-less and thumbing down... and do read up on wear leveling. It's the controller that is doing the wear leveling and as such knows when a block is dirty (all blocks inside a sector have been copied out and no longer in use) and needs erasing.

TRIM is merely the OS saying which blocks that hold data can be erased in advance since the data isn't needed anymore. So that it can erase more sectors and make things even faster.

You could have argued that the controller doesn't know *when* to do garbage collection, which is why it will likely interfere with operations, certainly when the drive becomes full or is written to a lot and constantly (ie benchmarks)

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Thumb Down

Re: Speed comparison

"Not fair to take NAND block erase into account when looking at speed, block erases and wearleveling are normally done when the chip is idle (background garbage collection), "

You really don't want this in a mobile device if there's an alternative. I spent a considerable amount of time working on power management for smart phones in a previous incarnation and the first rule is that if something isn't doing something useful (and having a NAND driver chip faffing around doing housekeeping to compensate for the failings of the underlying technology when there's an alternative which doen't need it definitely comes into the "not useful" category for my money) it gets put into a low power standby mode (or ideally powered down completely) as soon as possible. I'm seeing a definite battery life win just from this here, and that makes this interesting in itself.

You'd be amazed at how much effort goes into minimising the amount of time hardware (up to and including the processor core(s)) spends powered up and idle. Or given the difference in battery life between the Symbian OS devices I worked on and their Android/IOS equivalents maybe you wouldn't... :-(

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Facepalm

That's not a Nokia phone.

It's from Apple. Only Apple innovates. And not only does Apple innovate, Apple already wrote up a patent application for it.

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Devil

Re: That's not a Nokia phone.

Apple patented using chips built by a vertically non-integrated supply chain? Curse them!!

You've won this time, Cupertino, but we shall meet again!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's not a Nokia phone.

I'm sure I read that the USPTO have granted Apple™ a patent™ on the word innovate™

...you'd better lawyer up sharpish

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I smell Apple's lawyers..

I wonder what bullshit they will use to sue this time?

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Anonymous Coward

I can't wait...

...until this stuff obliterates the spinning rust crap. What d'yall reckon? A few years? Methinks Samsung knew exactly what they were doing when they hacked off their successful spinning rust arm.

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Mushroom

Asha

Ah those are the Nokia phones that are still selling in any appreciable numbers, unlike the other range. What were they called again?

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