Toshiba, SanDisk develop 1G-bit flash memory

Toshiba and its partner, SanDisk, have developed a flash memory chip that can hold up to 1G bits, enough for two minutes of moving images, Toshiba said Friday.

This NAND-type flash memory chip is aimed at packing high-volume data such as moving images and audio onto cell phones and video recorders, according to Kenichi Sugiyama, a Toshiba spokesman.

The NAND-type chip is designed to have faster rewrite characteristics and higher storage volume and is used in memory cards such as Smart Media, Compact Flash and SD (secure digital) cards for mobile devices.

Using 0.13-micron manufacturing technology, Toshiba and SanDisk were able to make the chip size smaller, so that its circuitry speed and data reading speed of such high-volume data is improved, Sugiyama said.

In order to increase the storage capacity, engineers linked 32 memory cells in a series, twice as many than in current chips. The chip is capable of writing and reading data at 1M byte per second and to replay recorded moving images smoothly, Sugiyama said.

Many memory engineers are striving to develop high-capacity flash memory for moving images. Sharp and Tohoku University, for example, have jointly developed technology that enables flash memory to hold more than 16G bits of memory, which is expected to be commercialized by 2006.

However, Toshiba and SanDisk's technology, which was announced at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, will be commercialized in the near future, Sugiyama said.

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