HP’s The Machine project could one day bring us smartphones with 100TB of memory

by: Bogdan PetrovanJune 12, 2014
hp memristor the machine

Memristor based wafer

Richard Lewington/Hewlett-Packard

HP Android devices, such as the Slate 7 tablet or the Slate 21 PC, aren’t exactly known for their good looks and amazing specifications. But HP could still secure a place for itself in the history of Android if it manages to turn The Machine into reality.

The Machine project is HP’s own moonshot, a grand effort to revolutionize computing and make our devices capable of keeping up with the flood of data that the Internet of Things will bring upon us. At the core of the project is the use of memristors, tiny components that can permanently store data, like regular flash storage, and make it accessible very fast, like RAM memory. Using memristors and superfast photonic links, HP believes it can replace RAM and flash storage with memory modules that are faster and cheaper, and hold much larger capacities.

The first devices to use the new technology will be servers – HP believes that using memristors will allow it to create servers that are six times more powerful than the best conventional servers of today, while consuming 80 times less energy.

But it’s not just servers that could benefit from The Machine – the technology can be scaled down for use in regular computers and even smartphones. In fact, HP Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink claims memristors could offer capacities that we can only dream of right now: “We want you to be able to store your entire life; think of 100 terabytes on your smartphone,” Fink said, cited by Infoworld.

Due to the massive differences between the way conventional computers and memristors computers work, HP needs to use a custom operating system for The Machine project. The company is developing its own Machine OS from scratch, but it’s also working on Linux and Android variants: “What if we actually built a version of Android that was tuned and optimized for these nonvolatile memory systems? We have a team that’s doing that too,” said the HP executive.

Mobile devices powered by memristors will boast huge storage, but benefits could also include lower prices, faster operation, greatly improved battery life, and better integration with the cloud.

To be clear, it will be years before we see the first commercial devices based on The Machine project. HP hopes to release the first products between 2017 and 2020. The company isn’t sharing details on the technology, but hopefully it won’t hit any insurmountable obstacles developing it.

For more details on The Machine and memristors, check out this Businessweek profile.

  • Amit

    Lots of P0rn !! Fck Yeah !!

    • Luka Mlinar

      I think you misspelled Pr0n :D

      • Amit

        :D you caught me !!

    • MasterMuffin

      Why would you do that, there are so many videos online (according to my friend of course)

      • Tjaldid

        my friend tells me that the Video quality is crap.

        • MasterMuffin

          There is a lot of HD content these days. Your mom told me that last night :D:

          • Jayfeather787

            Well. That escalated quickly.

    • Will S.


  • Luka Mlinar

    This is like a Christmas present come true for the NSA :D

    • MasterMuffin

      How? NSA will never have your data if all of it is in your device :)

      • Luka Mlinar

        They are the ones with the desperate need of space. The rate their going they really needed a brake trough to store all the data they are stealing.

        • MasterMuffin

          Stealing? Don’t you mean collecting in the name of security and freedom #murica ? :D

          • Jayfeather787

            Murica is not a fun place.

  • smokebomb

    100TB of storage? Oh wait, HP is at the forefront? SKIP.

  • MasterMuffin

    As long as they’ll let others use the technology, this is REALLY great

    • Corbin Crutch

      Oh yeah!

  • Aar0nC

    100TB… and yet some will still complain that, that’s not enough space lol

  • Boonlumsion Piyapon

    1. memory is ram not ssd or flash storage

    2. HP plan to using raid0 of a lot of small flash storage as ram for server

    3. it’s possible because low speed ram is only 10 times faster than fast ssd (but raid card don’t)

  • John Grabb

    I know phones are a big deal but HP isn’t caring. It will be the last thing if at all

  • flamencoguy

    All of Youtube on my phone? Gee how long will it take to download that?

  • wurst

    This clearly is a sign that HP has MASSIVE problems. Perhaps even near bankrupcy.

    So they came out with something that sounds really sensational to get shareholders excited.

    Very obvious move.

    We will NOT see devices with this technology in a few years, of course.

  • joser116

    I knew that we were capable of such great quantities of memory! I was waiting for such an announcement. Now to wait about the next gen battery tech.

  • Fail! Believe it when I see it.