Ready for a paradigm shift? IBM has just announced the development of phase change memories (PCM, or ?Phase-change memory?), which can be read 100 times faster than flash memories and remain reliable for millions of writing cycles, instead of thousands as on an iPad's SSD.
The secret behind PCM memories is in the way they store information: they use a special alloy that can be induced to different physical states (phases) with the passage of electric current. There were two limitations to its use, however: prone to errors over time and the possibility of storing just one bit per cell. Now that both problems have been fixed thanks to IBM's work in the field, the technology is ready to find applications in real-world scenarios.
This achievement represents a huge breakthrough in terms of performance and should bring about a paradigm shift in terms of storage in companies and servers, and may later reach products aimed at consumers. If you think a MacBook Air with a fast SSD when booting up, wait until you see a PCM machine going off-line to ready for use almost instantly.
Of course, when we have a MacBook with a PCM boot disk, we are already wishing for the memories "Racetrack", 1,000 times faster and that in about ten years. Our children will be amazed when they learn that one day we even wait more than a minute for a computer to turn on.