Your Android phone may be getting ‘smart’ RAM
Machine learning is already being used in most smartphones. It is this feature that helps out system performance, translations, voice commands, camera quality, and more. However, Samsung is aiming to take it a step further. The Android phone creator just announced that they will be bringing smart technology to their RAM modules for smartphones.
During the announcement, Samsung revealed that their processing-in-memory (PIM) tech was coming to RAM. This is on top of the technology landing in DRAM modules and the already improved high-bandwidth memory.
In the press release, Samsung mentioned that their LPDDR5-PIM technology will be able to provide independent AI capabilities without relying on data center connectivity. They also reported that during simulation testing the LPDDR5-PIM more than doubled the performance, while reducing energy usage by over 60% when used in voice recognition, translation, and chatbot apps.
At first glance, this sounds great as it will be improving machine learning performance quite significantly. However, there are still a few questions that have not yet been answered by Samsung.
For one, at this stage, it is unclear whether PIM is an actual processor that will be attached to the RAM module. Or is it a suite of algorithms and optimizations? If it is a real chip, will third-party developers and OEMs be able to access it for their own needs? Effectively spreading the smart RAM to other Android or iOS devices.
We are also not yet sure how powerful this technology will be. Would it be able to handle more advanced tasks like image processing and computer vision? Many smartphones already have chipsets that are capable of running advanced machine learning tasks. Most flagships also have AI silicon to further improve these features. This makes us wonder if PIM-enabled RAM with some grunt would enable OEMs for budget phones to go with cheaper silicon and let the smart RAM do most of the work.
Currently, there is no expected release date for Samsung’s smart RAM. However, Samsung is aiming to completely standardize PIM technology in the first half of 2022.
Samsung’s smart RAM sounds like a great addition and would help to improve the performance of a wide range of apps. However, I can’t help noticing that there are still a few questions unanswered. I look forward to seeing what light Samsung's next release will shed on these questions.Advertisement