But shuttling data into and out of compressed form on the fly, cellphone memory can be doubled. Steve Mirsky reports.
No matter how much memory you have in your cellphone or PDA, you’d probably like to have more. Now computer engineers have come up with a way to possibly double your memory in cellphones and other devices strictly by software. Northwestern University researchers working with colleagues at NEC Laboratories America, Inc., came up with the software methodology, and have applied for a patent for what they call CRAMES, which stands for compressed RAM for embedded systems.
Other attempts to increase memory usually involve hardware solutions—like simply adding more memory. What CRAMES does relies only on the operating system software. It basically compresses some of the data stored in your phone or other electronic device, then decompresses that data when the data’s needed. Meanwhile, other data not needed at the moment gets compressed to make room for the data being decompressed. By shuttling various data in and out of compressed form, the same amount of RAM effectively stores perhaps double the amount of data. Smartphones featuring the technology have been on sale in Japan since the summer.