With millions of mobile applications downloaded every day globally, smartphones and tablets have become a vital link for today’s smart digital lifestyle, putting a greater demand on mobile platforms from Intel and competitors with more computing capability, responsiveness, reliability and lower power consumption. Consumer demand for more convenient and better mobile computing options has boosted branded tablet shipments up nearly 55 percent globally in 2013 compared to last year, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics. The SanDisk iNAND EFDs product family (iNAND Ultra EFD and iNAND Extreme EFD) offer an embedded storage solution for this critical infrastructure in the mobile devices market. SanDisk's iNAND solutions, available in eMMC and eMCP interface, provide tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices with industry-leading capability for meeting key performance criteria for a more enjoyable consumer experience.
Flash-based storage specialist SanDisk Corp. has announced that it has optimized its 19nm iNAND flash memory for use in tablet computers based on Intel's advanced Bay Trail 22nm Atom processor system-on-a-chip (SOC) technology. However, ARM processors still dominate the tablet market globally. The SanDisk memory product upgrades enable iNAND Extreme to operate faster with more functionality due to the processor, and the memory is being evaluated at leading Android and Windows 8 tablet computer makers, according to a SanDisk press release last week. The use of SanDisk memory over a product from Intel’s own memory joint venture, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), is a surprise to many, but IMFT, which is affiliated with Micron Technology, has put much of its emphasis on solid-state disk drives so the supply chain was not perfectly aligned. Nonetheless, Micron is leading the industry in NAND memory IC node size shrinkage, which has inherent performance benefits, as it brings cutting-edge 16nm technology into production.
SanDisk's iNAND products come in a variety of storage capacities, ranging from 4 to 128 Gbytes and in iNAND, iNAND Ultra, and iNAND Extreme versions that meet the eMMC interface specification. Typically an eMMC memory consists of three chips including the multimedia card interface, the NAND flash memory, and the flash memory controller IC in a ball-grid array package. However, the largest capacity monolithic NAND flash IC currently available from SanDisk is 128 Gbit, but it would require multiple NAND flash dies to get to 128 Gbyte capacity.
SanDisk's iNAND components are available in embedded flash drive and multi-chip package forms. SanDisk claims that its iNAND Extreme component improves synchronization speeds; thus, the operating system responsiveness. iNAND Extreme offers sequential read and write speeds of up to 45 and 150 Mbytes per second, respectively. SanDisk is focused on developing application-specific memory products and is partnered with Toshiba for the production of memory die. Toshiba and Samsung are taking NAND flash to a whole new level in the advent of 3D NAND IC architecture slated for production, which is less reliant on node size shrinkage, over conventional 2D planar transistor technology. Three-dimensional NAND flash is poised to not only serve mobile devices using less power than 2D architecture but to provide a pathway to high-end enterprise solid-state disk drives in data center servers as well.
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