Toshiba and Samsung share NAND flash chip technologies

With more and more devices from portable media players to data storage devices like solid-state flash drives going to NAND flash-based storage over traditional spinning platters, the NAND market is hotter than ever.

With only a few providers of premium performance NAND flash devices around, a problem with one manufacturer can lead to problems across a wide variety and spectrum of consumer electronics. This fact was demonstrated when a power outage at a Samsung manufacturing plant forced the shutdown of six manufacturing lines. The resulting decrease in output drove NAND flash prices up and decreased the available supply.

Toshiba is another big player in the NAND flash world and spends great deals of money producing NAND flash chips and in research for higher performance NAND devices. In June of 2007, Toshiba unveiled its plans for 3D stacked NAND chips, allowing for increased storage density.

Samsung and Toshiba announced today that the companies have cross-licensed rights to each other for producing NAND flash chips. The license agreement allows Samsung to produce Toshiba’s single package LBA-NAND and mobileLBA-NAND flash chips. Toshiba has licensed the technology to build Samsung’s integrated OneNAND and Flex-OneNAND fusion memory chips.

Both companies announced the intention to release products next year based on the newly licensed technologies. Masika Momodomi, a Flash memory executive from Toshiba said, “This agreement will provide a major boost for market development and we believe it will trigger substantial new growth. It will allow our customers more options - both in terms of high performance technologies and suppliers. We believe that this agreement will bring positive results to the industry as a whole.”

The Samsung OneNAND and Flex OneNAND integrate a NAND Core, SRAM, error correction, and logic circuits into a single NOR interface chip. The Toshiba LBA-NAND and mobileLBA-NAND Flash chips are non-volatile memories integrating a controller and NAND flash memory in a single package. Both products are intended for use in consumer electronic devices.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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