Four-bit-per-cell Flash memory demoed

Spansion claims a major breakthrough in Flash memory, with new chips due before the end of 2006

Spansion, the memory products manufacturer, has demonstrated four-bit-per-cell Flash memory for the first time.

The Silicon Valley-based vendor intends its so-called MirrorBit Quad technology to be used in digital media applications in the removable market as well as for data storage in the integrated electronics market.

The Quad technology stores two bits in each storage location, compared with the more common one bit, which means more data can be packed into the available space.

"The implementation of four-bit-per-cell technology will open up new avenues of applications," said Jim Handy, an analyst with Semico Research, in a statement released by the company.

"Spansion's nitride-based MirrorBit technology, coupled with the industry-tested MLC approach to multiplying Flash density, promises to drive Flash costs to the next level of affordability," Handy added.

Spansion said the four-bit-per-cell technology could deliver a 30 percent smaller effective cell size per bit than floating-gate MLC NAND technology.

"This is a significant milestone, not only for Spansion, but for the entire Flash memory industry," said Spansion's chief executive Bertrand Cambou.

"The increased storage capacity, small size and improved cost structure of MirrorBit Quad solutions will change the way consumers store and interact with their content," Cambou claimed.

Spansion will release 512MB, 1GB and 2GB Quad products on 90nm by the end of 2006, with 65nm products in the pipeline for 2007.

Quad could support even more more bits per cell in the future, the company added.

Hans Wilderberg, a 16-year veteran of Motorola Semiconductor, will head up sales and development of the product.


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