STMicroelectronics Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. Thursday announced the two companies will jointly develop NAND flash memories and enter the growing market for flash data content.
The agreement is another sign that NAND technology is gaining on the rival NOR flash memory architecture. ST is fourth largest supplier of NOR flash memories for wireless phones. Hynix has a small NOR flash line.
The deal also could offer financially troubled Hynix a chance to expand its revenue stream and gain research and development resources to develop products for the fast-growing NAND market.
ST said the move will allow it to is become a one-stop supplier to OEMs swapping NOR flash for NAND technology.
"So far, ST has focused on NOR flash, the largest segment of the market, where we have become one of the world leaders both in technology and market share," said Mario Licciardello, general manager of ST's flash memories division, in a statement. "It is now the right time for us to expand our flash portfolio with NAND devices to address the fast-growing demand for low-cost, high-density data storage."
Jointly developed NAND products are expected to be ready for mass production in the second half of 2003. The companies are cooperating on NAND technology development, product design, and volume manufacturing processes. Each company will separately market its own NAND flash chips.
The first NAND products are slated to be produced by Hynix in Korea. The first device will be a 512Mbit NAND chip.
The Hynix partnership with ST, a major European chipmaker, comes at a time when the European Commission has indicated it will impose countervailing tariffs on imported Hynix DRAMS following allegations that the company accepted illegal subsidies from the Korean government.