Micron Launches ClearNAND Product To Address Flash Memory Industry Trend

Micron is offering both Standard and Enhanced versions of its flash memory solution. Standard ClearNAND comes with storage capacity of between 8GB and 32GB, while Enhanced ClearNAND comes with between 16GB and 64GB.

"ClearNAND allows us to maintain reliability and speed despite reduced geometries," Kevin Kilbuck, director of marketing for Micron's NAND solutions group, said in an interview with CRN. "We are going to hit a wall eventually, when we can't scale down further and the same technologies become harder to use. ClearNAND allows us to push that wall further back."

Micron's NAND Flash product portfolio offers host processors built by partnering semiconductor firms, with error correction management as well as increased capacity that can be utilized in more products and applications.

"NAND products are on a roughly eighteen-month product cycle," Kilbuck told CRN. "We're removing the burden of keeping up from our OEM and semiconductor customers."

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Kilbuck said many current enterprise servers, tablet PCs, MP3s, digital cameras, and other consumer electronics include NAND memory technology. He said DVD displacement and rotating media with SSDs could be the next wave, though he acknowledged that this could take a while due to the costs involved.

Kilbuck referred to several tools that extend opportunities for NAND products to be used in applications, including firmware, error correction code, and signal processing.

The NAND Flash industry is experiencing a significant downward trend in process nodes. Kilbuck said the drawbacks of rapid NAND scaling, which has taken the die from 72 nm a few years ago to 25 nm today, include reduced endurance and increased error management requirements. He said Micron expects the industry to hit the wall in around 2015.

Boise, Idaho-based Micron provides DRAM, Flash, and Solid State solutions for semiconductors. The company is organized into four groups -- including an embedded solutions group, a wireless solutions group, a DRAM solutions group and a NAND solutions group.

Among the semiconductor companies that it partners with, Micron last year developed a new 3-bit-per-cell technology with Intel .

Micron then acquired Swiss chip manufacturer Numonyx from Intel in May, and incorporated the company's manufacturing technology in developing solutions for its NAND products.

In order to both provide competitive semiconductor solutions and improve memory capacity on other manufacturers' designs, Kilbuck said Micron has increasingly found itself competing with the same companies that partner with it.