STMicroelectronics and Intel Corporation today announced a common flash memory subsystem to lower development costs for handset OEMs and enable them to get to market faster with feature-rich phones. In an effort to simplify handset memory design, the two companies will provide hardware- and software-compatible memory products based on common specifications. As a result, cell phone makers should see shorter development times and lower costs and will be able to transition quickly and cost effectively to the next-generation of NOR flash products from the two companies.
NOR flash is the memory technology of choice for the volume mainstream of the cellular-phone market segment. According to industry research firm iSuppli, 92.8 percent of the embedded flash memory shipping in handsets is NOR flash memory. Intel and ST provide more than 40 percent of the NOR flash memory in handsets today.
Today’s move to create a “second source” for leading NOR flash products and subsystems marks the first time that ST and Intel have worked together on common memory specifications. The first Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NOR products based on the common specifications are 512 Mbit devices independently designed and manufactured on industry-leading 90nm process technology. These products are now available from the two companies. The common subsystem specifications will also extend to 65nm MLC NOR technology and will focus on single-chip 1 Gb MLC NOR products.
“Today, Intel and ST deliver NOR flash memory products to the top 10 handset OEMs worldwide,” said Darin Billerbeck, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Flash Products Group. “With our jointly developed memory subsystem for 90nm and 65nm NOR flash products, we will continue to build and expand on this leadership in cell phones.”
“ST and Intel have come together to provide handset OEMs with a stable supply of NOR flash products that deliver fast performance, high density and low power consumption for multi-media phones with mega-pixel cameras, video, and high-speed data capabilities,” said Giuseppe Crisenza, vice president of STMicroelectronics’ Memory Products Group. “The two companies are also working together to provide more value to our handset OEMs by defining next-generation features, memory interfaces and packaging technologies in our 65nm memory subsystems.”