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11/4/2009
08:47 PM
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Samsung Unveils Thinnest Flash Memory Chip

The package is 40% lighter than conventional memory, and useful for mobile electronics such as smartphones, portable media players, and laptops.

Samsung unveiled a multi-chip memory package that it claims is the thinnest ever, for smartphones, portable media players, laptops and other mobile electronics.

The package measures just 0.02 of an inch thick and packs 32 GB of storage. The device is 40% thinner and lighter than a conventional memory package, according to the vendor.

The new device features a significantly thinner "bare" die, or chip, that measures half the thickness of a conventional die, Samsung said. The package comprises eight stacked NAND flash chips, built using a 30-nanometer production process.

In developing the super-thin dies, Samsung said it overcame the limits of conventional technology that led to an unacceptable drop in production yields when chips were less than 30 micrometres thick. The new dies are half that amount and will double the storage capacity in the same size memory package used today.

"We have achieved a major reduction in the thickness and weight of a large multi-die package to provide the best solution for combining higher density with multi-functionality in current mobile designs," Tae-Gyeong Chung, VP of the development team within Samsung Electronics, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Assuming that power usage remains the same, boosting storage in memory packages without increasing size and weight means people can store more digital content in their smartphones and other mobile gadgets, making them more useful as computing devices.

Samsung did not announce any customers for the new products.

The new Samsung chips could find a home in solid-state drives used as a replacement for hard disk drives. While the high price of SSDs hurt sales in mobile PCs this year, the devices grew in popularity in corporate data centers and IT computing infrastructure.

Because of rising demand from corporations, SSD revenue this year will reach $883 million, up from $127 million last year, according to market researcher iSuppli. Unit shipments increased to 5.8 million units, up from 1.4 million units.

Samsung this month reported earnings in the third quarter more than tripled from the same period a year ago, due to gains in its chip business and higher mobile phone sales. Samsung is the world's second largest maker of handsets. Nokia is the leading manufacturer.

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