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Samsung delays 8Gbit NAND, quietly developing 4-bit/cell

Posted: 19 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Samsung Electronics? 8Gbit NAND flash? American Technology Research? XX? XX?

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd has delayed the shipment of its 8Gbit NAND flash part, while the company is also quietly developing a new 4-bit-per-cell NAND technology, according to American Technology Research Inc.

The disclosures, made during its Q2 results on July 14, revealed that Samsung has delayed its 8Gbit multi-level-cell (MLC) NAND part "by a quarter," according to the research firm.

At the same time, the company is expanding its product offerings. "Samsung is coming up with its own version of 4bits/cell technology to go into production in 2008," said Satya Chillara, an analyst with American Technology Research, in a report.

The 4-bit flash technology enables four bits of information to be stored on one flash memory celltwice as much as 2bit/cell MLC NAND flash wafers manufactured through equivalent lithography allows.

Samsung's technology would be competitive to M Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd, Saifun Semiconductors Ltd and others. M Systems said that it expects to start mass-producing its recently-announced, x4 NAND flash components by early 2007. While Saifun has developed a 4-bit-per-cell technology, dubbed Quad-NROM. It has licensed the technology to Infineon, Spansion, among others.

The company's Q2 bit-growth for NAND was up 17 percent, but average selling prices (ASPs) were down 32 percent. For Q3, Samsung projects that NAND bit-growth will jump 35 percent, while ASPs will fall only 7 to 8 percent.

For 2006, the company predicts NAND bit-growth of 170 percent, down from 180 percent in its original forecast. ASPs are projected to fall 55-to-59 percent, which is much worse than its original forecast of 50 to 55 percent, according to the research firm.

Samsung's "guidance does not bode well for the NAND industry," said Chillara, who believes that the trends will impact M Systems and SanDisk Corp. "We believe the NAND flash revenue generated by Samsung in Q2 '06 suggests that NAND royalties for SanDisk in Q3 will decline by about $12-13 million compared to our model of $81 million."

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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