With SRAM, DRAM and flash high-stepping down the road map for both standalone and embedded designs, any competing memory chip technology faces an uphill battle. Nevertheless, other types of memory � in various stages of development � are rumbling offstage. Ferroelectric random-access memory, for example, has entered mass production at Ramtron International Corp. and is close to commercialization elsewhere. Beyond FRAM comes a bewildering array of alternatives, some still in basic research and all aiming to shrink design rules toward the angstrom scale (an angstrom is one-tenth of a nanometer). Among the contenders are magnetic tunnel-junction RAM (MRAM), phase-change RAM (PRAM), nanowire and nanotube designs, and molecular memories. For any of these, however, gaining traction will probably mean following in the footsteps of Ramtron and finding a niche in which to flourish while sustaining the long-term research required to someday catch up to DRAM and flash.