The Taiwan semiconductor company's claim is a big one, since a removable flash memory card of this magnitude would sit well in new smartphones and tablets that are holding increasing amounts of music, pictures, and videos. MicroSD chips are supplemental memory chips for smartphones and tablets.
"Although it comes in a compact size, it definitely satisfies consumer needs for massive multimedia data storage," the company said in a release. "Moreover, with the help of an adapter, Kingmax's microSD card can also be used as a SD card or USB flash drives."
The smallest and densest NAND flash die shipping is the Intel/Micron 20-nanometer 64-GB NAND, which was announced in April. The smaller flash memory will make it possible to boost storage in smartphones and tablets while taking up less space on circuit boards.
IM expects to begin mass production in the second half of this year, when the company plans to start providing samples of 16-GB devices. The 20-nm products will make it possible to build a 128-GB solid-state drive that is smaller than a postage stamp, the company said.
Kingmax's proposed microSD chips are supplementary flash storage for smartphones and tablets, except for Apple products, which don't allow for external storage capabilities. Its dimensions are 15 millimeters by 11 millimeters by 1 millimeter, and it has a wear-leveling algorithm to maximize product lifetime and an error correction code that auto corrects data. It's also energy efficient, the company said.
However, Kingmax's chips would barely fit into a microSD card since a microSD measures 15 by 10 millimeters at its narrowest point, Jim Handy, an analyst for Objective Analysis, said in an InformationWeek interview.
"If Kingmax puts a 150-millimeter part into a 150-millimeter package, they wouldn't be able to put the plastic casing around the edges," Handy said. "There's not a lot of extra room, so it's an enormously challenging technical feat to make something like this. It will be an important success if Kingmax can ship it in volume."
However, it is not a matter of if, but when a new microSD chip will be shipped, Handy said. While Kingmax's claim is tall, if it doesn't produce this chip in the near future, another chip manufacturer certainly will, he said.
The NAND flash memory market saw revenue of $5.36 billion in the first quarter of 2011, up 9.9% from $4.88 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to DRAMeXchange. Samsung Electronics led the market with a 36.2% share, followed by Toshiba with 35.1%. Intel was fifth on the list with a 6.6% market share.
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