Toshiba and Sandisk have announced that they are developing a second generation 19nm process technology to accelerate the mass production of 2-bit-per-cell 64Gb NAND (MLC) memory chips (as such, one can expect the first samples to reach the market by the end of the year).
The two companies, who operate a NAND flash manufacturing plant and work closely together on NAND technology, have managed to reduce the size of a 64Gb memory by 25 per cent to only 94mm^2, a move that allows some significant cost cutting.
In addition, a number of tweaks (including proprietary algorithms and multi-level data storage management) have been made which allow data to be written on these chips at up to 200Mbps, the fastest speed reached for 2-bit per cell chips.
Toshiba is also working on a 3-bit per cell chip which should reach mass production in the second quarter of 2013. These products are likely to hit the market first on smartphones and then on SSDs destined to the wider market.
It will be interesting to see whether these new NAND flash memory modules will trigger the launch of higher capacity storage devices and erode prices even more.