SanDisk CEO Eli Harari talked to NY Times about the future of flash memory, he predicts the technology will hit a brick wall five years down the road because they're running out of electronics. Since 1990 the number of electrons per cell has shrunk from about one million to a few hundred, and this can't go on forever. Current flash chips store up to 64 billion bits and Harari claims a brick wall will be hit one the company reaches 256 billion bits per chip (32GB). After that the company will be forced to stack multiple layers of memory cells on top of one another.
Your camera and music player will certainly be able to store a lot of files. But you won’t be able to count on next year’s iPhone having double the capacity at the same price.
He may be heading for a brick wall, but Mr. Harari has a plan: Head up.
“When Manhattan ran out of space, they built skyscrapers,” Mr. Harari said. “It’s the same for us.”
Right now semiconductors are all based on the particular properties of circuitry etched onto a flat piece of silicon. Four years ago, SanDisk bought Matrix Semiconductor, a company that was trying to develop a way to stack multiple layers of very tiny memory cells on top of one another.