Samsung Moving Towards Flash Laptop Memory

Having doubled flash memory capacity yearly since introducing a 256 megabit device in '99, Samsung have announced the planned launch in late 2006 of a 16-gigabit (equivalent to 2Gb of storage) NAND chip. Analysts have been expecting this by 2007, however this earlier announcement shows that Samsung are still ahead of main rival Toshiba by at least 6 months to a year.

Valued at around $10.1 billion this year, the NAND flash market provides memory mainly to digital cameras and MP3 players; this includes the Apple iPod Shuffle and newly released Nano. Samsung will be hoping that the increase of MP3-playing phones will also help to increase demand.

Having purchased a large amount of NAND chips from Samsung, Apple look set to switch to flash memory from the traditional hard drives for all the iPod range.

Currently, the price of NAND flash chips is about double that of hard disk drives at the 4-gigabyte capacity level. However, Samsung said shrinking chip geometries have helped to lower NAND production costs. Moving from 90-nanometre 2-gigabit NAND chips to 70-nanometre 4-gigabit chips has cut costs by 40 percent.

Future Use?
Industry commentators have queried whether using flash memory in laptops will be feasible within the next few years. By the time the 16Gb Flash chip arrives, HDD music and video players are likely to be up to the 80GB mark or more. Driven by developments in perpendicular storage technology, notebook hard drives should be nosing past 250GB by then. However, these latest developments do go a step further to making the use of NAND flash memory chips in laptops a reality.

Samsung's plan is initially to incorporate Flash alongside an HDD, to hold OS boot code. Samsung will apparently unveil a new laptop late this month that will use 16 8Gb flash chips.

Hwang Chang-gyu, head of Samsung's chips division, told reporters,

"In the near future, Flash memory will completely replace all portable storage devices - film, tapes, disk drives and CDs,"

More from...
Wikipedia on Flash Memory
Samsung on NAND Flash
TechNewsWorld on the Flash Market


Nothing like stating the obvious...

... we've been into flash drives for some time and it is only a matter of time before they become the norm. No moving parts for starters.

Though that said, flash memory does not have the long term read/write capability to really run an operating systems at present. The number of read write operations is limited before corruption will set in, though I would expect these problems to be overcome in the next few years.

I have no doubt

In digital photography hard disk microdrives are pretty much obsolete (although you still find advocates), it will happen in the rest of storage uses. You can already get video supplied on memory. Memory is more durable, easier to work with and smaller. No brainer really. You will still get people harking back to the old days just like some people will never give up vinyl :O)

As costs come down it'll be

As costs come down it'll be interesting to see how they get taken up by audio and video uses. Compared to CD/DVD's they are obviously a lot smaller, and much more easy to write/rewrite to, though I imagine it could be at least 5 years before the cost becomes feasible for selling music and films in shops.
Could be so easy to have a flash card slot in a TV to listen to music, watch film, look at digicam pics, I'm already impressed with the way they are creeping into the laptop market.

Then we have have the format wars all over again :)

What's that i hear.....

...the voice of reason? You heard right nick.

I've read in several

I've read in several reputable tech places that apple are absolutely moving to flash for the iPod range...

Easy tiger!

I don't suppose they mean right now, probably not even next year but they will move to flash memory eventually. Size and storage capacity are both issues at the moment i have to admit, however, it looks likely that it'll be possible within the next few years (even for the larger iPods).

Having purchased a large

Having purchased a large amount of NAND chips from Samsung, Apple look set to switch to flash memory from the traditional hard drives for all the iPod range.

No they don't. Simply because they can't. Certainly not for their 20 & 60 Gigabyte lines, and demand for them isn't likely to fall off entirely because of the nano and other miniature players.