Totally Immersed in Mobile at Linley

By Ken Steck - 2014-05-19

I just attended the Linley Mobile Conference in Santa Clara, CA. The event gave me and some of my fellow colleagues in Micron’s Mobile group a great opportunity to see firsthand what is resonating with mobile device, chip, and software designers—along with other contributors to the mobile market. Here are some of my takeaways from the event.

Micron Memory Waterfall

The first day, I listened to a talk on the mobile memory “waterfall effect,” which covered LPDDR2, LPDDR3, and LPDDR4’s adoption in the market over time. Unfortunately, I didn’t references to specific research to make the presenter’s predictions more compelling. But this talk was of particular interest to me given Micron’s ongoing role in driving the standard and adoption of LPDDR4. LPDDR4 uses a totally different architecture to get 2X the performance of LPDDR3 without generating more power. Check out “Advancing Mobile Solutions With Low-Power DDR4,” where Micron’s Reynette Au explains more.

Future of Wearables

I found the track on the much-buzzed-about wearable computing very interesting; it was augmented with a talk focused entirely on sensor hubs and power system requirements. These presentations backed up my already held perception that the wearable space is a true moving target: a lot of innovation and hard work are happening in this space, but no one really knows what direction the market is heading.

A recent CNN article, “Workplace wearables: Your boss knows when you've had a good night's sleep,” shows how wide open the wearables market is right now (with some wearable technologies that are pretty “out there”). Everyone is waiting to see what works and what people will actually use—and, more importantly, what people are willing to pay for.

Of course, all of these wearable devices need some sort of memory, which is where Micron comes in. We have a large portfolio of solutions that are low power and come in small form factors; I think this will be a space where we can add a lot of value to our customers’ creations.

Mobile Benchmarking

One of the final tracks brought up some thought-provoking questions about mobile device benchmarking, like: What is the standard for benchmarking? When you can trust a benchmark score? What does the score really mean?

Along these same lines, one of the groups in attendance showed off a toolset that benchmarks Android platform performance across different devices—and it tests pretty much EVERYTHING. Depending on the benchmark measured, some devices did better than others. Even the mighty Samsung Note 3—which is considered one of the most powerful phone platforms available—didn’t fare well on some benchmarks compared to other phones. This is interesting new technology—especially in my line of work, where comparisons are the name of the game, and their accuracy means a lot to our end users.

Under Fire

Ok, so I didn’t get to take away the Kindle Fire HDX that was raffled off at the end of the conference (there’s always next year), but I did come away with some new insights into mobile designers’ needs—and with a renewed assurance that Micron’s Mobile group is focusing on the right things—like (not surprisingly) offering even more performance and lower power in our memory devices at costs that aren’t out of control.

Thanks to the huge, steady demand for mobile devices—all around the world and at a wide range of economic levels—providers of mobile solutions (including memory makers) seem to be under more and more pressure to come up with better and cheaper solutions. It’s a huge market to serve, and we’re feeling the pressure like everyone. But I like where Micron’s headed—driving innovative mobile technologies (like LPDDR4) and continuing to make decisions based on our mobile customers’ needs so that we can develop the best mobile memory options out there.

Micron Mobile Solutions

Micron makes memory solutions for a wide range of mobile applications. Visit our Mobile Memory Solutions page and see how we’re helping to enrich these on-the-go experiences with more customer-focused mobile solutions.

Ken Steck