HALF MOON BAY, Calif.Seeking to take the technology lead in NAND flash, SanDisk Corp. disclosed that it will roll out 32-nm devices in 2009.
SanDisk's partner, Toshiba Corp., will also reportedly roll out 32-nm NAND chips in the later part of 2009. Others are also rolling out new and leading-edge NAND devices, but the real question is if or when the overall market will recover.
At present, SanDisk and Toshiba have begun ramping up 43-nm devices. The latest 43-nm products are based on four-bit-per-cell (x4) technology. Starting in mid-2009, SanDisk will ship 32-nm devices, based on two-bit-per-cell (x2) and three-bit-per-cell (x3) technology, said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief operating officer at SanDisk (Milpitas, Calif.), during a presentation at the Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) here.
With the announcement, SanDisk and Toshiba could take the technology lead by a nose. In comparison, the Intel-Micron duo recently rolled out a 34-nm NAND part. Market leader Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is delivering 42-nm parts, according to Forward Insights.
But is there any demand for NAND? For some time, NAND has been mired in a downturn, due to excess capacity. ''2008 was an extremely challenging year,'' which will ''continue in 2009,'' Mehrotra said.
To help solve the problem, vendors must ''manage supply in line with anticipated demand,'' he said.
SanDisk and Toshiba have done their parts. Toshiba recently announced an adjustment to production of NAND flash memory at its Yokkaichi Operations plant in Mie Prefecture, Japan. The adjustment will cut production by approximately 30 percent, effective from January 2009. SanDisk and Toshiba have a joint fab venture in Japan to make NAND flash.
Beyond the doom-and-gloom, there are some major growth drives for NAND. Add-on cards, solid-state drives (SSDs) are among the drivers, he said.