Taipei, Dec. 6, 2011 (CENS)--IM Flash Technology LLC, an NAND-Flash joint venture between Micron Technology and Intel, will unveil 20nm 128Gb NAND Flash chips on Thursday (Dec. 8) in Taiwan, inspiring the idea that Micron will increase contracts to its Taiwanese partners Nanya Technology Corp., and Inotera Memories Inc.
The move indicates that Micron and its partners have become another camp in the memory-chip industry to make NAND Flash chips using 20nm process after Samsung, which rolled out 20nm chips in the third quarter.
Taiwan's industry executives estimated the upcoming release will intensify the competition between Micron and Samsung.
Samsung recently announced it would release 10nm NANA Flash chips sometime in the second half of 2012. Toshiba is another chipmaker stepping up development projects of NAND Flash chips, having set aside three analog-chip factories for the development of NAND Flash chips. Macron International Co., Ltd. of Taiwan plans to develop high-end NAND Flash chips in 2012.
Taiwan's industry executives are watching closely whether Micron will transfer its NAND Flash technology to Nanya and Inotera to help them switch from the money-losing DRAM manufacturing for the profitable NAND Flash manufacturing.
Micron said recently that Thailand's floods have fueled strong demand for NAND Flash chips, the crucial devices in solid state drives (SSD). The floods have interrupted production at many hard-disc drive makers in the southeast Asian nation, which is the largest supplier of HHDs used in PCs and laptops.
According to market research organization DRAMeXchange, until the end of the third quarter, Samsung was the world's No.1 NAND-Flash supplier with a market share of 37%, followed by Toshiba with 31.6%, IM 29.1%, and Hynix 11.8%.
Industry executives estimated increased popularity of smartphones and tablet PCs will further fuel demands for NAND Flash chips.
(by Ken Liu)