WAYNE, N.J. SanDisk is hoping to make removable storage devices a more viable option for mobile phones with the development of it's T-Flash family, a NAND flash-based card architecture that measures 11 x 15 x 1 mm.
Developers of mobile phones face an interesting challenge as they craft next-generation designs. In order to support new services, such as camera capabilities, designers must provide an efficient storage mechanism in their mobile architectures. The challenge, however, is determining whether to handle this storage with an embedded memory device or to tackle it with a storage card that can be added in. To date, many have felt that the size of existing mini-Secure Digital (SD) memory cards and other external storage devices would push designers to lean toward integration.
That's a mentality Sandisk hopes to change with the development of T-Flash. By offering a 15 x 11 x 1-mm form factor, the new flash product takes up significantly less space than existing mini-SD cards, said Rex Sablo, product marketing manager at SanDisk. "Designers can also keep costs low by avoiding the need to embed the storage inside the mobile," Sablo added.
The T-Flash device is built using a 0.13-micron process and is delivered in a more durable package than its SD card brethren so that it can be embedded directly behind the battery pack in a mobile. The memory device also uses the same interface and same security features defined under the SD card specifications.
Initially, SanDisk will offer the memory device in 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128-Mbyte versions. However, as Sablo points out, the company will deliver a 256-Mbyte density by the end of 2004. SanDisk will also look to add SIM card functionality on its T-Flash devices over time, Sablo added.
Adoption of T-Flash is already under way. During this week's 3GSM World Congress, Motorola announced that its A1000 and E1000 mobiles would implement the T-Flash devices. Sablo said that SanDisk plans to be in 44 mobile phone models the second quarter of 2005.
One thing that remains unclear is how Sandisk will promote second-source development for these memory devices. Sablo said the company is deciding whether to provide this architecture to an open forum or to form a joint venture with another memory developer. However, at this point, he said a decision has not been made on how to proceed.