The US chip-maker Freescale has announced the development of a new kind of electronic memory that stores data like a hard drive, but is much smaller in size.

The chip is called magnetoresistive random-access memory, or Mram for short.

According to a report by the BBC, one analyst believes it could be "the most significant development in computer memory for a decade".

Will Strauss, an analyst with research firm Forward Concepts said, "This is radically new technology. People have been dabbling in this for years, but nobody has been able to make it in volume".

Mram is more reliable than flash memory, as it doesn't degrade over time, can store information without power, and has very rapid read and write speeds.

It could be used to store the operating system of PCs in the future to increase the startup speed.

Freescale didn't announce the chip for a couple of months after it started production, so that it could build inventory.