A Japanese joint venture between SanDisk and Toshiba has announced it is to produce 19nm NAND flash memory, with samples due imminently and full production by the end of the third quarter. The first chips will be 2 bits per cell 64Gb devices, giving 8GB per chip. Only two weeks ago, Intel-Micron's joint flash venture rolled out its 20nm NAND flash memory, at the time the most advanced technology on the market.
Toshiba says it will be putting 16 of the 8GB chips into one package, making a single 128GB device suitable for mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices. It also plans to add 3 bits per cell, increasing capacity by 50 percent. The memory designs use SanDisk's All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture, which the company says supports multi-level cell (MLC) flash designs that have equal performance and reliability to single-level cell memory.
According to unnamed sources quoted by the Digitimes website, Toshiba has also said that it is cutting all NAND production by half in May and June, due to limited availability of blank wafers and other raw materials after the disasters in Japan. The company's fab plants for NAND chips aren't in the affected region of the country, but many of its suppliers are.
In general, the industry is expecting some shortages of NAND flash memory over the next six months, perhaps becoming worse towards the end of the year. "Kingston anticipates that the supply of NAND chips will become increasingly tight in the long run, as tablets and other new applications help create huge demand for the memory." Digitimes reported.