Samsung, Toshiba cross-licensing NAND flash tech

December 3, 2007 – Samsung Electronics and Toshiba have agreed to cross-license their respective OneNAND and LBA-NAND NAND flash memory technologies, to both spur overall growth of, and gain footholds in, the burgeoning market for “fusion” flash technologies.

Under the deal, Samsung will license product specs of its OneNAND and Flex-OneNAND “fusion” chips to Toshiba, which in turn will license product specs of its single-package LBA-NAND and mobileLBA-NAND flash chips to Samsung. Both companies will develop and market products compatible with the source technologies; first products resulting from the combination are expected sometime next year.

The Nikkei daily cited Samsung data that “fusion” memory chips such as these will surge to $5B in sales by 2010, making up 20% of the overall global NAND market, up from just $800M/4% of the market in 2008.

“Signing this agreement will provide a major boost for market development and we believe it will trigger substantial new growth,” said Masaki Momodomi, flash memory technology executive of Toshiba’s semiconductor company, in a statement.

“The advanced performance specs and easy design-in features of the NAND flash memories to which the agreement applies can greatly improve design options for CE application designers, while reducing development costs,” added Yun-Ho Choi, SVP of the flash Team at Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business.

Samsung’s OneNAND and Flex OneNAND memories integrate a NAND core, SRAM, error correcting engines, and logic circuits in a single chip with a NOR interface. Flex-OneNAND partitions SLC and MLC to offer more flexibility and lower costs. They are designed for use in various consumer electronics and other applications.

Toshiba’s LBA-NAND and mobileLBA-NAND integrate a controller and NAND flash memory in a single package, with conventional NAND flash-compatible pin assignment and command sequence but utilizing logical address access methods. They are designed for use in mobile consumer products (e.g. digital audio players, personal media players) and mobile phones, respectively.


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