NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Flash Memory Gaining Ground As Portable Devices Increase
by Ken Fermoyle, Ken's Korner, January 2001
(click to email author)

Perhaps "flash memory" is not part of our daily vocabularies, but the technology is rapidly becoming part of our lives, even if many of us don't realize it. Flash memory, you see, is used in cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 music players and other portable devices we all use more and more these days. It also plays a big role in unseen areas, such as networking networking devices from companies like Cisco.

Perhaps the most visible use of flash memory to consumers currently is in the little memory cards or sticks that slip in and out of digital cameras. Familiar brand names include SmartMedia and CompactFlash. Many other devices have built-in flash memory, so we aren't even aware that it's there.

But it is, and in growing numbers. Sales for 2000 are expected to hit $10 billion or more, more than double the total for 1999. Manufacturers such as Intel, AMD, Atmel and Fujitsu will reap substantial profits as a result. And companies continue to announce new products or developments almost weekly.

For example, Intel Corporation in October 2000 introduced a new flash memory chip designed to enhance the performance of next-generation Internet phones and wireless devices. Intel claims that the new 1.8 Volt Wireless Flash Memory is the "highest performance flash chip available, carrying out key functions up to four times faster than existing flash solutions."

The increased performance will result in higher data throughput rates to speed up data-intensive Internet phone applications such as browsing, data streaming and text messaging, the company reports. Energy savings of up to 60 percent are also claimed for the new low-voltage memory.

In another indication of flash memory growth, AMD earlier announced that it has entered into an agreement with Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) to supply flash memory products over the next three years. Under the contract, AMD will provide HP with flash memory products designed to support a broad range of products including its inkjet printers and various print servers.

"Our high density and Page Mode flash memory devices offer an ideal complement to HP's innovative products," said Walid Maghribi, group vice president of AMD's Memory Group.

AMD produces a broad spectrum of flash memory products, including the award winning Simultaneous Read Write (SRW) product family, Super Low Voltage 1.8V flash memory devices, and Burst and Page mode devices. Significantly, all of AMD's flash memory products are guaranteed for a minimum of one million write cycles per sector and 20 years data retention, "making them the most reliable non-volatile memory devices offered in the industry," according to AMD claims.

Click here to return to top