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Samsung soups up flash capacity

Wants bigger share of big market

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Samsung has souped up its flash capacity with a 64GB MoviNAND product and a 32GB microSD (Secure Digital) product.

MoviNAND is an embedded NAND flash product with an MMC interface, flash memory and controller in a BGA package. The 64GB moviNAND measures 1.4mm in height and is built from 16 32nm, 32Gbit, 2-bit multi-level cell (MLC) NAND chips and a controller. Samsung says the complete 17-die stack uses 30-micron thick chips. MoviNAND products are now available in 64GB, 32GB, 16GB, 8GB and 4GB capacity points.

Samsung envisages MoviNAND being used as bootable memory for a mobile phone. A future MoviNAND device would use 3-bit MLC, plus single level cell (SLC) flash and RAM under a single chipset, providing a unified RAM/flash memory resource.

A 3-bit MoviNAND version would be expected to increase capacity by half. A move to a denser process technology, sub-30nm for example, would increase capacity further and we could be looking at 96GB and 192GB product. If Samsung licenses SanDisk's 4-bit MLC technology, then 256GB or more could be realistic expectations in a couple of years.

By then, tablet computing devices, if they arrive and become popular, could be hard disk drive-free products. So could/would netbooks, depending upon flash pricing.

Samsung's 32GB microSD card is built from eight stacked 32nm, 32Gbit NAND chips and a card controller in a 1mm-thick package. Samsung claims it is the highest-capacity, production-ready microSD card available.

Sony has recently announced it will support the microSD card format, alongside its proprietary Memory Stick format.

Samsung quotes an iSuppli forecast that 530 million 32GB and higher-capacity memory cards will be sold this year, rising to a massive 9.5 billion cards in 2013, based on a 16Gbit-equivalent units. As the number one flash chip producer, Samsung could expect to grab a large chunk of that.

The 64GB moviNAND has been in mass production since December last year and the 32GB microSD card is being sampled with OEMs. They should be getting mass-produced product in February. ®

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