Toshiba opens door to 128GB smartphones

Apple's much-hyped iPhone 4 might be limited to a maximum storage space of 32GB, but the next generation of smartphones could be equipped with up to 128GB of flash storage, thanks to Toshiba.

The versatile Japanese tech firm has just announced its plans for a 128GB embedded NAND product, featuring 16 8GB NAND chips and a controller in one small package.

The stack of chips features a 237-ball FBGA connector, and measures just 17 x 22 x 1.4mm. The company claims that the 128GB unit offers the highest capacity in a single package in the industry.

According to Toshiba, the NAND chips themselves are only 30 micrometres thick, and are fabricated on a 32nm process. The company says that the slimmer silicon is the result of advanced chip thinning and layering technologies.

Based on multi-level cell (MLC) technology, Toshiba claims that the packages are capable of performing sequential reads at up to 55MB/sec and sequential writes at up to 21MB/sec. This isn't going to have SSD makers worried, but it's certainly enough speed for your average smartphone.

Explaining the need for increasing densities of NAND packages, the company said that "demand continues to grow for large density chips that support high-resolution video and deliver enhanced storage."

Toshiba says that this is especially true in the field of "embedded memories with a controller function that minimise development requirements and ease integration into system designs."

Toshiba says that it plans to start sampling the packages in both 64GB and 128GB versions in September this year, with mass production scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010.