February 02, 2010, 11:52 AM — Intel and Micron have reached a new breakthrough in NAND flash production. The 25nm NAND flash process will enable the manufacturers to double current flash memory capacity, or squeeze the same memory into half the space, enabling advances in storage capacity for the devices that business professionals rely on.
A joint statement from Intel and Micron says "Manufactured by IM Flash Technologies (IMFT), Intel and Micron's NAND flash joint venture, the 25nm process produces 8 gigabytes (GB) of storage in a single NAND device, creating a high-capacity storage solution for today's tiny consumer gadgets. It measures just 167mm2 -- small enough to fit through the hole in the middle of a compact disc (CD), yet packs more than 10 times the data capacity of that CD (a standard CD holds 700 megabytes of data)."
What does that mean in English? The 25nm process cuts the required chip count in half compared with previous generations of NAND flash technology. That means that OEM manufacturers can create a 256GB SSD (solid state drive) with only 32 flash dies instead of 64.
This advance in flash memory technology benefits business users in one of a few ways. First, the smaller flash memory dies will enable smartphones like the iPhone or Nexus One to double the onboard memory capacity without increasing the size of the device.
Smartphones, or the next-generation smartphones dubbed "superphones" by Google, are increasingly blurring the line between mobile phone and portable computer. Business users rely on smartphones for e-mail, calendar scheduling, contact management, and even working with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, so increasing the amount of space available for data storage is beneficial.
Tablet PC's like the devices announced from Freescale or HP, or the recently unveiled Apple iPad, rely on NAND flash memory to provide persistent storage (storage that retains its data even while powered off) in a small, thin form factor. The advance in NAND flash technology by Intel and Micron will enable manufacturers to double the storage capacity of tablet PC's.