Intel and Micron Technology today announced the development of a new chip technology for use in flash cards and USB drives. Built on the companies' 34-nanometer (nm) NAND process, the new 3-bit-per-cell multi-level cell NAND technology produces "the industry’s smallest and most cost-effective 32-gigabit (Gb) chip that is currently available on the market," according to the companies.
The greater density will allow for the development of higher-capacity USB drives. In a statement, Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's memory group, said:
We see 3bpc NAND technology as an important piece of our roadmap. We also continue to move forward on further shrinks in NAND that will provide our customers with a world-leading portfolio of products for many years to come. Today’s announcement further highlights that Micron and Intel have made great strides in 34-nanometer NAND, and we look forward to introducing our 2xnm technology later this year.
For a better understanding of the technology and why it's important, I defer to the experts. In the YouTube video below from the Micron blog, Kevin Kilbuck, strategic marketing director at Micron Technology, describes the technical differences between SLC, MLC and 3-bit MLC NAND and talks about how the products fit into the overall roadmap.
Micron is sampling the technology now and said it will be in mass production in the fourth quarter of this year.