SAN JOSE, Calif. Seeking to re-establish its identity, flash-memory semiconductor specialist Spansion Inc. on Thursday (March 2) outlined its new roadmap, including details of its NAND-like product efforts.
As part of the roadmap, Spansion (Sunnyvale, Calif.) dropped hints about a quad-bit, NAND-like product line that is targeted for the 45-nm node in 2008.
Beyond the so-called Quad Bit line, there were no roadmap surprises at Spansion, which is experiencing a string of losses amid a downturn in the NOR flash market. The company formerly the NOR flash venture between Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Fujitsu Ltd. recently went public.
In the fourth quarter of 2005, Spansion recaptured the market lead in the NOR-based flash memory arena from rival Intel Corp., according to preliminary figures from iSuppli Corp.
Today, Spansion is shipping its 110-nm NOR line, dubbed MirrorBit. The MirrorBit cell doubles the intrinsic density of a flash memory array by storing two physically distinct bits on opposite sides of a memory cell.
The company is beginning to ramp up a 90-nm version of the MirrorBit product line, said Bertrand Cambou, president and CEO of Spansion, in a conference call with analysts.
In 2006, the company will see a “massive conversion” in shipments from 110- to 90-nm MirrorBit products, Cambou said. “We will also be shipping [110-nm MirrorBit products] for quite awhile,” he said.
As expected, the company this month or next will start producing its NAND-like product, dubbed Ornand. The first product, the 1-gigabit MirrorBit Ornand MS device, is aimed for data storage in wireless handsets. It combines a NAND interface with the high-read performance of NOR flash-memory, according to the company.
With Ornand, “we intend to re-define the flash industry,” Cambou said.
By year’s end, Spansion hopes to move to a 65-nm process in its flagship Fab 25 facility in Austin, Texas. The company’s Fab 25 plant is also making 110- and 90-nm devices as well. Its foundry partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., is also ramping up 110-nm parts, according to Spanion.
And by 2008, it hopes to migrate to a four-bit-per-cell architecture, dubbed Quad Bit, based on a 45-nm process. The company did not disclose details about the product.
It could be based on technology from Israel’s Saifun Semiconductors Ltd. At the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in Washington DC, Saifun presented its Quad NROM technology, the first flash memory technology that can store four bits per cell, the company claimed.
After several years developing and licensing out non-volatile memory technology to such companies as Spansion LLC and Infineon Technologies AG Saifun conducted a successful initial public offering of shares in November 2005.