Intel has created a mysterious new type of computer memory that could revolutionise the technology industry.
The innovative new design, called 3D XPoint, combines the functions of two types of memory to create a data bank that runs 1,000 times faster than most hard drives.
But Intel is keeping tight-lipped on how the new technology works and what it is made of.
The company calls this new creation 3D XPoint—pronounced "three-dee cross-point"—and , after touting the stuff for a year-and-a-half, Intel finally pushed it into the market. You can think of the new technology as a computer building block that can serve more than one purpose—a single thing that can replace several others.
But the new tech also serves as a way for Intel to shift multiple markets in its favor. That's probably why it won't say what the memory is actually made of. Certainly, Intel doesn't want others duplicating the technology, which it developed alongside hardware maker Micron.
3D XPoint has the potential to change the way that big internet companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook make their machines in future.
These companies build machines on an unprecedented scale could benefit a lot from Intel's new technology.
But by only using one computing manufacturer for their machines, Google and Facebook run a risk of giving Intel too much power in negotiations. A choice of providers is more likely to drive prices down. This market shape has driven the technology industry for years, but Intel's new memory design could change that.