the computer bubble that burst - drum storage
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In 1966, when their invention was announced, foam memory was still considered a miracle technology for the post-80 s computer.
Sturdy and reliable equipment that holds the information stored in it even if someone unplugs it.
"Magnetic bubble memory has the potential to replace mechanical magnetic disk and drum storage systems," announced at 1974 Annual General Meeting of Texas Instruments.
Bubbles seem destined to capture the main part of the fast-growing computer memory business, which seems to be confirmed every new lab development.
The market is just about to take off.
But 15 years later, foam memories, once seen as one of the great innovations of modern technology, such as transistors, photocopiers and Polaroid cameras, face a more modest fate.
In the market, it hardly leaves the ground.
Late last month, the National Semiconductor Company became the third major semiconductor manufacturer in the United States to close its bubble business.
Rockwell International and Texas Instruments withdrew in February.
Withdrawn on June
All three claimed that the bubble memory market failed to develop as expected and that it was no longer profitable to continue expensive research and manufacturing projects.
In last December, the enthusiasm for advertising was still high.
A report from risk Development says the bubble memory market is finally ready to start meeting some of the expectations that its enthusiasts have been predicting for years, the focus of market research.
There were a lot of things about this earlier this year. million-
Memory of the Bitcoin bubble and its potential market impact.
Its closest and most complex competitor is a semiconductor device, random access memory, or RAM, with only one capacity in its prototype phase-
Quarter of million bits(
Bit is the unit of information in the storage device.
In a computer language, it takes 8 bits to store a character, with an average of 6 characters per word or unit of information
The bit storage chip can hold nearly 30,000 words. )
But now analysts and industry officials have cut their forecasts for the bubble memory market, which will reach $1 billion a year by the middle of this year.
1980s is no more than $0. 4 billion a year, and may be much less.
The market may not exceed $50 --to-
"By 1985 to 1986, $100 million," said Charles E . "
Snuck, president of National Semiconductor, has invested $5 million in trying to develop marketable bubble memories.
Most companies involved in the bubble are reluctant to disclose how much they have invested.
But Frederick zeber, consultant at Dataquest Inc.
A market research and consulting firm said companies such as AT&TI.
International commercial machines may have invested between $40 million and $50 million, while others, such as Fujitsu Ltd.
In Japan and Intel, profits could exceed $30 million per company.
Roughly speaking, this will make the total investment of the bubble possible as high as $0. 35 billion.
The future of magnetic bubble memory
There is also one that is far from backward and backward in technology --
More modest now.
In their more esoteric uses, A uses bubbles. T. & T.
To tell callers that "all circuits are busy, please call later", the military is keen on bubbles because they are very strong and insensitive to temperature changes, dust or vibrations.
The Pentagon is currently working on a 40-million-
Bit system that should be able to work at minus temperature
54 degrees Celsius to plus-155 degrees.
Back in 1960s, researchers at Bell Labs, like researchers at other businesses, were looking for a cheap way to store information that was more efficient and simpler than disks and drums, A device that combines easy access to large amounts of data, high
Fast information retrieval and permanent storage of data.
They found the answer with their nails.
Large and thin garnet chip.
When magnetized, a tiny magnetic field or bubble is formed on the surface of the pomegranate stone.
Then, by changing the direction of the magnetic properties, these bubbles can be moved to different positions, thus encoding the computer data.
Lighting using a common microscope and polarized light is a common laboratory technique that can actually see bubbles moving around the film device.
"If we can't see what's going on, we won't have a bubble memory right now," Andrew H said . ".
Bebeck, a person at Bell Labs, is recognized as the father of bubble memory. Mr.
Bobeck recalled that in 1965, no one took out more than the basic materials of memory research.
In addition to lab toys, a better material is needed to develop something.
At a meeting of 70 to 80 Bell Lab scientists,
Richard Sherwood, a colleague of Bobeck, suggested the use of positive magnet materials (garnet) without crying ). Mr. advertising
Sherwood is right, so the first patent for bubble memory was filed in 1966 with four names: Bebeck, Sherwood, William shawkley (
One of the inventors of transistors)and U. F. Gianola.
Follow its practice with other inventions such as transistors,. T. & T.
The manufacturing department of Western Electric has authorized almost any company that requires the manufacture of foam memories.
Almost all the big electronics companies in the world are involved in this field.
The field now is ll lab and me. B. M.
This makes these memories mostly for their own use, Intel and Motorola.
Hitachi and F. ujitsu in the United States and Japan compete for general market sales.
Eventually, in 1979, Bell began production with bubble memories at the Western power plant and Pa reading in Columbus, Ohio.
But it also found that they are produced at cost.
The effective number is much more difficult than it was originally presented.
Some companies, such as Univac and Burroughs, quit even before attempting full production.
"It's similar to making an integrated circuit chip, but it's hard. '' Mr.
Bobeck explained, "in the way the various parts are matched, real precision is needed.
You need a very capable employee.
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With demand for all electronic components falling sharply this year
Technology companies find they can't afford to assemble.
This is a product with a small profit.
The same tightening of marginal products has occurred. Last May, T. I.
Stop the production of digital watches and LCD monitors.
In addition, once
Competitor technology, especially the random access memory chip, has left promising price competition for bubble memory.
Now, the cost of storage per bit on the bubble is about 100, which is one of a few minutes.
According to Benjamin M.
Rosen, an electronics analyst and consultant, believes prices will fall to £ 30 by 1982.
However, it does not match the price of RAM, which currently costs about 10 ms.
Analysts said that by 1985, the income of Ram will reach three million.
The price of floppy disk memory, another competitor to the bubble, also fell sharply.
"These changes in competitors' technology prices are bigger than expected . "
Sporck of National Semiconductor Company said.
They are narrowing the market where the bubble could have been solved.
"There are also technical problems.
The quality of pomegranate-based materials formed by bubbles does not meet the standards required for reliable manufacturing.
So, according to a study by electronics industry consulting firm Gnostic, the yield on good Bubble Memories is low.
To make matters worse, it is reported that the combined carbide that makes this material is not willing to invest in the production of more suitable pomegranates for markets that fail to deliver on their promises.
In addition, bubble memory requires a rather cumbersome and bulky peripheral device, which also becomes an obstacle to their acceptance.
Marketing has always been a problem for manufacturers.
It turns out that making and selling bubble memory devices as a single component is a failure.
Dennis McGrevey, consultant at Northend concept, said, "What is needed is a series of other integrated circuit chips that control the memory and make it work properly.
"Ad Bell and Intel have taken this approach, and National Semiconductor has been working in this direction before they quit.
"Intel is pursuing mature technology, which integrates all peripheral chips and control systems . "Bobeck said.
"They now have an attractive subsystem package that the user can design directly into his product.
"In the eyes of many analysts, this approach, coupled with the fixed price offered by Intel, allows the company to surpass its competitors.
Intel guarantees it will maintain its $500 price for millions of dollars.
Bitcoin bubble memory for the whole year, $300 next year.
But fierce competition from Hitachi is deciding when and how to enter the US market.
According to Sachio Jujii, its US sales manager, the company is determined to stay in the bubble memory business.
There is no doubt that this will lower the price and start a price war below Intel's level.
Hitachi produces the most foam memories of any producer, with 64,000-Bit and 256,000-
Bit storage chip in production, million
Bit units that are about to enter the list.
Bell and West also still believe that there is a small and valuable market niche for bubble memory.
The use of foam is usually hidden and often bland.
A. The use of bubbles. T. & T.
Looking for emergency telephone exchange systems for places where temporary services are needed, such as large business meetings.
Hitachi believes that perforated paper strips used to guide CNC machine tools can replace bubble memory.
Solid bubble unit in plug form
In the cartridges, the damage to the factory floor will be much smaller.
Bubbles are also tested for recording oil and gas production at the wellhead, or for monitoring household water or gas meters over telephone lines, which will save time and cost for the National meter reading unit.
In all of these cases, the attraction is the rugged nature of the foam memory.
In the long run, if some technical problems can be solved, analysts say there should be a bubble memory market for electronic cash registers and supermarket cash registers.
For foam memory, the most attractive market will be portable computer terminals for military and commercial purposes. T. I.
Use bubbles in its range of portable terminals.
However, the market is still small before removing heavy and expensive external coils for the drive system.
However, despite the potential competitive technologies around
Includes a version of the RAM integrated circuit that does not lose data if the power supply fails
Real bubble technology is not yet seen to be resettled.
Advertising is "very high odds ".
The longer there is no replacement for bubbles, the longer it will not be replaced, says Bebeck. '' ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Howard Banks is the West Coast correspondent for The Economist.
A version of this article appeared on page 3003004 of the national edition of September 20, 1981, titled: cracked computer foam.