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Samsung Pushes Flash Storage For Notebooks

The company has been pursuing the MP3 market, but is now expanding into notebook PCs with a 32-Gbyte drive.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Continuing its assault on the traditional hard disk-drive market, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has begun offering a 32-gigabyte (GB) NAND flash-based, solid-state disk (SSD) for mobile computing applications.

Samsung (Seoul) also sells hard disk drives, but the company is aggressively developing NAND-based solid-state storage devices as a potential replacement for traditional storage, especially in MP3 players like Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod. Apple is using NAND-based solid-state storage in some iPods and hard drives in other models.

Now, Samsung is expanding its flash storage efforts into notebook PCs and related markets, which puts the company in further competition against the disk-drive makers. The company’s new product, dubbed the 32-GB Flash-SSD, is said to serve the same purpose as a hard disk drive for notebooks and other mobile computers, according to Samsung.

The solid-state storage drive is said to weigh only half as much as a comparably-sized, 1.8-inch hard drive, but it reads data three times faster and writes data 1.5 times faster, according to the company on Monday (March 20).

The Flash-SSD uses just 5 percent of the electricity needed to power a hard disk drive and is noiseless, according to Samsung. Overall, Samsung sees the global solid-state storage market surging from $540 million in 2006 to $4.5 billion by 2010.

In a separate announcement, Samsung said that its OneNAND product will be offered for the first time in external memory cards. OneNAND is a device that incorporates buffer memory, a controller and NAND flash memory on a single chip.

An alternative to standard NAND flash memory cards, the OneNAND-based memory cards are available in 32- to 256-MB densities. By applying OneNAND to memory cards, Samsung claims that it offers the optimal solution for mobile phone and digital camera performance.

Separately, Samsung also announced a new, high-performance memory card. The solution, dubbed moviNAND, combines a MultiMediaCard v.4 (MMC) controller with up to 4-GB of NAND.

Applications include MP3/MP4 players, digital still cameras and small form-factor PCs, as well as mobile phones. moviNAND can transfer mobile video and other multimedia data at speeds of up to 52-megabits-per-second, according to Samsung.