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Infineon enters flash memory market--512Mbit flash chip introduced.

Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE:IFX) (FWB:IFX) has launched the world's first NAND compatible flash chip based on TwinFlash technology. The 512Mbit flash chip has been developed by Infineon Technologies Flash GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture of Infineon Technologies and Saifun Semiconductors. Initial production has started in Infineon's 200mm DRAM Dresden facility.

"Infineon has expanded its memory product portfolio significantly by including flash and can now allocate its memory production capacities flexibly between DRAM and flash," explained Dr. Harald Eggers, CEO of Infineon's Memory Products Business Group. "The TwinFlash technology allows us to produce flash chips on the existing equipment used for DRAM manufacturing and consequently to enter a new market with basically no investment in manufacturing equipment."

TwinFlash is realized in Saifun NROM technology, a leading edge non-volatile memory technology developed by Saifun Semiconductors and proven in the past as basis for NOR-Flash and EEPROM, which stores two (Twin) locally separated bits in one transistor cell. Compared to competing single-bit-per-cell floating gate technologies with equivalent process structures TwinFlash offers 40% smaller die sizes due to its two-bit-per-cell approach and less mask levels resulting in a competitive production cost position. By end of 2004 more than 10,000 wafer starts per month on 170nm technology are planned. The next TwinFlash technology node with feature sizes of only 110nm is being developed to further improve cost position and to enable larger densities of up to 2Gbit.

According to Gartner Dataquest the worldwide market for NAND flash memory is expected to grow by 30.8 per cent from US-Dollar 3.36 billion in 2003 to US-Dollar 4.4 billion in 2004. Infineon aims to be among the top 3 players in the NAND market by 2007.

"The NAND Flash market is expected to be the fastest growing memory market in the upcoming years," said Dr. Peter Kuecher, President and Managing Director of Infineon Technologies Flash. "Infineon is introducing its TwinFlash product family just in time to benefit from this market condition."

The 512Mbit flash chip comes in a TSOP package and is targeting the removable solid state storage market with products like SD-, MMC-, Compact-Flash-Cards or memory sticks mainly used for Digital Still Cameras and PDAs. NAND flash is also the preferred storage medium for USB flash drives used for data exchange between PCs and notebooks or sophisticated USB-drives featuring MP3-player or integrated Digital Still Cameras. NAND flash chips are able to transfer data with high speed which allows recording and the replay of sound and video in real time. As these features become more important for the latest mobile phones data flash devices will be increasingly deployed by mobile phone manufacturers.
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Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jan 12, 2004
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