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What would a world without Toshiba's NAND flash technology look like?

Toshiba is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its invention of NAND flash with a series of funny web spots imagining a world where the ubiquitous storage technology used in all manner of gadgets and computing devices was never invented.

Each one-and-a-half minute "NAND Flash Deprivation Experiment," labelled "#118," "#206," and so on, starts with subjects asked to place their digital cameras, tablets, MP3 players, eBook readers, and other modern consumer electronics gear in a bin.

They're then faced with the prospect of taking pictures with old analog cameras that spew film when they unwittingly pop open the back panel, stuffing a library's worth of books in a backpack for class, and other scenarios hearkening back to the days when Rolodexes spun our contacts around on little wheels and the Walkman was king.

The point being - NAND flash is a pretty cool thing. How cool? Toshiba figures that its technology "is to photography what a food processor is to chopping vegetables — it doesn't make the act of taking pictures possible, but it sure makes it easier. And produces better results."

Here are the NAND Flash milestones Toshiba highlighted this week to commemorate the silver anniversary of its invention:

  • 1987: NAND flash memory invented — technology was presented by Toshiba at IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM).
  • 1999: SD memory card introduced by Matsushita, SanDisk and Toshiba.
  • 2001: World's first commercial 1GB MLC NAND flash chip introduced.
  • 2009: Toshiba's 3-bit-per-cell 32-gigabit (GB) chip represented the industry's smallest die-size yet achieved.

More recently on the NAND flash front, Toshiba introduced its FlashAir line of SDHC memory cards for digital cameras that include embedded wireless LAN functionality to enable uploading of photos and other content directly from a camera to the cloud or to other computing devices. The company has also released the first microSDHC cards in its high-performance EXCERIA product line and continues to lead in product innovation with the technology it invented 25 years ago.