Toshiba Corp announced the strategies for its NAND flash memory business, which the company defines as a growing business, May 11, 2010, in Japan.
Toshiba plans to accelerate the move toward further microfabrication and increase the production capacity in the aim of establishing a high-profit business model.
As for the microfabrication, the company will start the volume production of 64-bit chips using 2Xnm node technologies in the summer of 2010.
"Because the microfabrication technologies for 32nm node products, which are now being produced in volume, can be applied to the 2Xnm node products, it is possible to quickly start volume production of 2Xnm node products," said Norio Sasaki, president and CEO of Toshiba.
The company produced the originally planned number of 32nm node NAND flash memories as of the end of March 2010.
In regard to the expansion of the production capacity, Toshiba will start to construct the fifth manufacturing plant at the Yokkaichi Operations in July 2010, planning to complete the construction in the spring of 2011. The fifth manufacturing plant is designed to be able to produce 2Xnm and smaller node products. And the company plans to use the plant for the volume production of a new memory device that might replace NAND flash memories, it said.
Also, Toshiba will expand the product line of its NAND flash memories, preparing products for high-capacity, high-performance and mobile applications, respectively. As for the high-capacity applications, the company plans to sell 64-Gbit chips, multi-layered packages and SSDs.
In regard to the high-performance applications, Toshiba will mainly offer SLC (single level cell) products, which store 1 bit of data in each memory cell. The memory capacities of the SLC products, which use a high-speed data transmission technology, are 512 Mbits to 16 Gbits. As for the mobile applications including memory cards, the company intends to sell 3bit/cell MLC (multi-level cell) products.
Toshiba is considering actively applying its SSDs for storage devices such as used in data centers, etc.
"The hybrid of HDD and SSD enables to save energy," the company said. "It enables to save energy by about 80% compared with a storage device consisting of only HDDs."
Toshiba is currently developing new memory technologies, including BiCS (Bit Cost Scalable) technology, that can replace NAND flash memories. The BiCS technology is used to three-dimensionally stack memory cells in multiple layers.
"We will make a decision about the new memory within fiscal 2010," the company said. "After that, we will introduce the new technology in the fifth manufacturing plant in its second or later operating season."
This time, Toshiba announced that it will make a capital investment of about ¥1.3 trillion (approx US$14 billion) during the period from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2012 and allocate ¥400-500 billion for the semiconductor business.