LONDON Intel and Micron, collaborators in flash memory, are sampling a 4-Gbit NAND flash memory fabricated in a 50-nanometer process technology, according to Micron Technology Inc. The devices were manufactured by IM Flash Technologies LLC a joint venture formed by Intel and Micron.
Only a few days earlier the companies' main rival in flash memory, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., announced that it had begun mass producing an 8-Gbit NAND flash-memory device made using 60-nm technology (see July 19 story).
Micron (Boise, Idaho) said that although it and Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) are sampling 4-Gbit devices now, the companies plan to mass produce a range of memory capacities on the 50-nm node in 2007.
According to industry research forecasts, the NAND market segment is estimated to reach $13 to $16 billion in 2006 and grow to approximately $25 to $30 billion by 2010.
"Micron entered the NAND business in 2004 using a 90-nm process. In a few short years and through our collaboration with Intel, we are now poised to introduce a leadership product based on a cutting-edge process technology," said Brian Shirley, Micron vice president of memory, in a statement.
IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) has been ramping its manufacturing facilities since the company's formation in January 2006. At present Micron is supplying the venture with NAND flash from its own Boise fabrication facilities, and a 300-mm facility in Manassas, Virginia., will be online later this year to supply IMFT with NAND flash memory, Micron said. Meanwhile, the Lehi, Utah facility that is dedicated to IMFT and serves as its headquarters is expected to be begin producing NAND flash memory early in 2007.