SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Last month, Eli Harari, founder, chairman and chief executive of SanDisk Corp., said he would retire from his current positions on Dec. 31, 2010.
Harari will provide advisory services to the company for a period of two years starting Jan. 1, 2011. SanDisk (Milpitas, Calif.) appointed Sanjay Mehrotra, currently SanDisk’s president and chief operating officer, to be the president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2011. SanDisk appointed him to the company’s board, effective July 21.
During the Flash Memory Summit here on Wednesday (Aug. 18), Harari gave a keynote and addressed several topics. In an interview with EE Times after the keynote, he provided more insight about lithography, NAND and the post-NAND era.
Here’s what Harari said on various subjects:
On solid-state disk drives for the masses
''It’s still in the early adoption phase. Cost and performance is the issue. Performance is very good. (But it will take) one or two generations before SSD is attractive for the mass markets.’’
On growth markets for NAND and NAND-based storage devices
There are several drivers: 1) E-books. In the near term, Amazon will sell ''more E-books than hard covers and soft covers’’; 2) Emerging markets. The Indian government plans to ship $35 tablet PCs to 110 million students. (The systems will reportedly use NAND flash); 3) Mobile. ''Mobile is the mother of all growth markets.’’
On Apple’s iPad
''If I would have said the tablet PC would be a growth driver last year, you would have laughed me off the stage. Even I would have thought I was crazy. Apple has changed the landscape in tablet PCs. Apple sold 3.3 million iPads in the first three months.’’
On NAND scaling
At one time, there was a belief that NAND would run out of gas at ''0.16-micron. 50-nm was supposed to be the end. There were experts that said this was the end. (But I see the industry making) a push for NAND below 20-nm.’’
Scaling in general
“The scaling pace will slow down, but costs will come down.’’
The post-NAND era ''won’t happen overnight.’’ If or when NAND runs out of steam, the top candidate for the post-NAND era is a ''3-D read/write’’ technology.
Extreme ultraviolet lithography is ''very challenging. I think we can overcome the challenges for EUV. Look, the industry overcame the challenges for immersion.’’
People have a huge appetite for storage capacity, especially as they expand their personal music and video libraries. Consumers are also very price sensitive, want smaller devices, and expect high reliability with high speed responses. When SSDs have higher capacity, smaller form factors, lower cost, higher speeds, and more reliability than the alternatives they will take over. In the meantime, reliability considerations (especially the lack of rotating media that are damaged by vibration or impact) will favor deployment of SSD technologies into premium mobile devices.
Any established technology is hard to replace, no matter how good its alternatives look.
NAND is really hard to replace, but even NAND in SSDs can't replace HDDs.
193 nm lithography is hard to replace, even after many years of work on EUV. It's too different, like GaAs vs. silicon. GaAs never replaced silicon even though it was faster and better.
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