NOR Flash Standard Meets Instant-On Expectations

TORONTO – Jedec’s new xSPI standard for non-volatile memory (NVM) devices is aimed meeting the demands of instant-on applications while also maintaining performance standards for NOR flash sitting outside of the SoC.

Adesto Technologies, known for its small, ultra-low power NVM products, is claiming to be first out the gate, having been working on products and collaborating on the standard for the past three years. In a telephone interview with EE Times, Adesto Chief Techology Officer Gideon Intrater said its eXecute-in-Place (XiP) EcoXiP product family takes advantage of the new Jedec standards to give customers such as system developers and controller designers assured compatibility with controllers and peripheral devices that should accelerate adoption.

Developed by a task force comprised of representatives from most NOR flash device manufacturers and several PC and microcontroller companies, the xSPI standard establishes mechanical, electrical and transactional guidelines for developing high-throughput octal devices. Although Jedec has been a defining organization for NAND flash, said Intrater, until recently NOR flash has been somewhat of a “wild west” in terms of standards, which has led to divergent products for enabling communications between host controllers and memories and confusion for controller designers.

NOR flash is “old in the tooth,” he said, but it’s made progress in terms of process technology and the amount of bandwidth that you go can get out of devices has improved dramatically in the last decade. Recently emerged applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and automotive infotainment systems have created a great deal of demand for embedded devices that need more program memory than what can be implemented economically on-chip using embedded flash or SRAM. Intrater said Adesto’s EcoXiP eliminates the need for on-chip embedded flash and the need for on-board flash to store firmware. It doubles processor performance, lowers…

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