Why it matters: Advancing technology means smartphones are getting faster and more powerful all the time. The next big upgrade for flagship devices is LPDDR5 DRAM, which Micron has announced is in mass production and shipping to customers. The first phone to use the chips will be Xiaomi’s Mi 10, and the memory is also expected to appear in Samsung’s Galaxy S20.
For several years now, flagship handsets have featured LPDDR4 or LPDDR4X DRAM modules. Micron’s LPDDR5, which is available in 6GB, 8GB, and 12GB packages, improves on LPDDR4X with 50 percent faster data access speeds and up to 20 percent better power efficiency.
Micron adds that LPDDR5 boasts data speeds of 5.5Gbps and 6.4Gbps—an increase over the 4Gbps offered by LPDDR4X. The speeds will help with AI tasks and 5G, preventing 5G-capable phones from experiencing bottlenecks. The company also said that devices using the memory would experience faster app processing and operating speeds, extending the battery life by 5 to 10 percent.
Micron will also be offering the memory in multi-chip packages that pair LPDDR5 with UFS-based flash storage for use in mid- and high-tier smartphones; these will be available during the first half of the year.
It’s likely that Xiaomi’s M10 will be the first smartphone to use LPDDR5 DRAM. Product Director Wang Teng Thomas confirmed that it would feature in all versions of the M10 series, from standard and above.
We heard in July last year that Samsung was also mass producing LPDDR5 mobile DRAM, and it’ll likely appear in the upcoming Galaxy S20 series along with the Snapdragon 865 and UFS 3.0. The phones will reportedly come in 12GB and 16GB RAM versions.