Intel Joint Venture Unveils Line-Up Of Flash Memory Devices - InformationWeek

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Intel Joint Venture Unveils Line-Up Of Flash Memory Devices

The chipmaker's Numonyx partnership with STMicroelectronics is aiming its embedded hardware at mobile phones, personal global positioning systems, and set-top boxes.

Numonyx, a joint venture of Intel and STMicroelectronics, introduced Thursday a lineup of NAND flash memory devices for consumer electronics ranging from mobile phones and USB drives to digital cameras and MP3 players.

The new products, built using Numonyx's latest 41-nanometer manufacturing process, include 16- and 32-Gb multilevel cell NAND chips for use in solid-state drives, USB drives, and memory cards; an embedded MultiMediaCard; and a microSD flash memory card.

MMC and microSD cards are used in a variety of consumer electronic devices. Numonyx is aiming its embedded MMC at mobile phones, personal global positioning systems, and set-top boxes. The company's microSD is aimed at mobile phones, digital still cameras and camcorders, and MP3 players. A microSD is the smallest memory card available commercially and is typically used for added storage.

Numonyx's embedded MMC comes in capacities from 2 GB to 32 GB, and the microSD from 2 GB to 8 GB. The lineup is available for device manufacturers, with the exception of the 32-GB embedded MMC. Samples are scheduled to be available in January.

Intel and STMicroelectronics officially launched Numonyx in March. The multibillion-dollar company, which is expected to generate $3.6 billion in annual revenue, absorbed the tech companies' money-losing businesses for flash memory devices.

The NAND flash memory market has been hit hard because of an oversupply that has grown worse in the economic downturn. The dismal state of the market has been a major contributor to the overall slump of the semiconductor industry.

The industry as a whole is expected to suffer a second year of revenue decline in 2009, marking the first time chipmakers have seen sales drop in back-to-back years, according to Gartner. Revenue next year is expected to total just $219.2 billion, a 16.3% drop from this year, which is forecast to suffer a 4.4% drop from 2007 to $261.9 billion.

Numonyx competitors include Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, and Texas Instruments.

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