PCM technology will generate a small amount of revenue for Numonyx this year, with more revenue expected as the technology evolves and becomes widely commercial in the next two to three years, Harrison said.
Earlier this year, Intel and STMicroelectronics presented research on glass-like material that can be turned into four states instead of two, allowing it to retain twice the amount of data. The material can also exist in liquid and semi-liquid states.
Though PCM is superior, Numonyx does not expect it to replace NOR and NAND memory over time, Harrison said. Besides PCM, the company will continue to manufacture NOR and NAND flash memory as they will provide a cost advantage to users, Harrison said.
PCM can't compete cost-effectively with other memory technologies because it is more expensive, Handy said. PCM will proliferate after competing memory technologies hit a wall in manufacturing. As chip features shrink, PCM is more suited to cope with smaller manufacturing technologies than competing manufacturing technologies like NOR, Handy said.
NAND flash is slowly biting into NOR flash, and PCM could possibly replace both, said Joseph Unsworth, principal analyst at Gartner. About 60 percent of cell phones today contain low-end NOR flash memory, which is being replaced by NAND flash as multimedia cell phones gain acceptance, Unsworth said. Numonyx will not be able to compete with larger vendors like Samsung or Toshiba in NAND flash, so it's hedging its bets on PCM, Unsworth said.