Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brad King

HP Unveils a Tiny Mobile Memory Chip

The company has made public a chip the size of a pencil tip, which it hopes will spark a revolution in mobile information.

  • July 17, 2006

A Hewlett-Packard research facility unveiled a tiny wireless device, dubbed a Memory Spot, which the company says will become the equivalent of a digital Post-it, allowing people to easily transfer electronic information between almost anything.

The chip has an adhesive back, allowing it to be stuck anywhere, enabling people to add information to everything from a photo to a passport to medical-alert bracelets, according to this article in the San Jose Mercury News. When the devices eventually become commercially available, possibly in two years, they may cost as little a $.10 per unit, according to this New York Times article.

Much has been made of the coming mobile information age, although most stories have focused on the RFID tags, which, while having a variety of limitations, seemed the best alternative for many uses. HP’s Memory Spot, though, will offer distinct advantages over RFID. From the Mercury News article:

The memory spots are similar in some ways to the more simplistic radio-frequency identification tags. But they are far smarter and more secure: They can store more than 250 times as much data as RFID, transmit data more than 20 times faster and encrypt it, sidestepping many of the privacy concerns over RFID tags.

Two questions come to mind with this type of technology: Will such a small device be practical for every day use by a general, consumer audience? And what happens to the data on the device if it somehow comes “unstuck” from the surface it’s been attached to?

Still, it’s nice to see some movement on the mobile information front. There’s been hype around this (and I’ve been included in some of that), but precious little on the practical front.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.