LAS VEGAS, NV, AND TOKYO, JAPAN, Nov. 12, 2001 - Toshiba Corporation and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) jointly introduced today the world's first commercial one gigabit (1Gbit, or 1024Megabit)) NAND flash memory chip, a new generation of flash memory that effectively doubles the amount of storage that the two companies can put in their flash memory cards. The new 1Gbit flash chip will be manufactured on the same 0.16 micron process technology that is currently used in the production of the 512Megabit NAND. It is based on the patented multi-level cell (MLC) technology pioneered by SanDisk that allows two bits of data to be stored in one memory cell, doubling memory capacity. This commercialization of NAND MLC flash is viewed by both companies as a crucial step for improving margins, expanding existing markets and enabling new markets for flash memory data storage. The announcement was made at the COMDEX 2001 trade show where SanDisk is showing products at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, Conference Room 10.
Two 1Gbit dies also can be stacked in a single TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package) to produce 2Gbits or 256 Megabytes of memory. Use of the MLC technology, either as embedded chips or in removable cards, is expected to greatly expand the data storage capabilities of cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 audio players, streaming audio and streaming video. Both companies will independently market the chips to their respective customers. It is expected that new CompactFlash™, MultiMediaCard and Secure Digital card products based on the 1Gbit flash memory chip will commence production in the first half of 2002. On Nov. 5, 2001, SanDisk introduced a 1 Gigabyte CompactFlash card, the first product using the 1Gbit NAND, MLC technology.
Takeshi Nakagawa, Corporate Senior Vice President, President and CEO of Toshiba Semiconductor Company, said, "Collaboration with SanDisk has brought brilliant success in the NAND flash arena. With this gigabit MLC flash technology, we take a significant step towards a core element of strategic vision for our flash business: to provide the highest capacity flash memory with the lowest cost per bit in the market. This MLC NAND flash product will rapidly expand demand for embedded flash storage as well as flash-based media cards. It is a great pleasure to introduce fruits obtained through the efforts of Toshiba and SanDisk."
Eli Harari, CEO and President of SanDisk, said, "This announcement represents a technological breakthrough and a crowning achievement for the many Toshiba and SanDisk personnel who have worked so closely together on this project for many months. This MLC gigabit technology should provide both SanDisk and Toshiba with a highly competitive cost structure. Toshiba, with its superb process technology and manufacturing prowess, has proven to be a highly strategic and valued partner for SanDisk in our continuing quest to accelerate our flash technology roadmap and expand the markets for our flash storage products in the years ahead."
The 1Gbit NAND memory chips will be produced for both companies using 0.16 micron process technology in Toshiba's advanced fabrication production facility at Yokkaichi, Japan, and at the Dominion Semiconductor manufacturing plant in Virginia under the FlashVision Joint Venture established by Toshiba and SanDisk. The two companies expect to apply the MLC technology to chip capacities below 1Gbit, as well as to future generations of NAND flash with capacities beyond 1Gbit.
The MLC gigabit flash chip employs new advanced concepts and operational algorithms that greatly increase MLC write speed, thereby enabling the MLC chip to deliver essentially the same performance as standard NAND chips.
About SanDisk Corporation
SanDisk Corporation, the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.
About Toshiba Corporation
Toshiba Corporation is a leader in information and communications systems, electronic components, consumer products, and power systems. The company's integration of these wide-ranging capabilities assures its position as an innovator in advanced components, products, and systems. Toshiba has 188,000 employees worldwide, and annual sales of over US$47 billion. Visit Toshiba's website at http://www.toshiba.co.jp The matters discussed in this news release contain forward looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described under the caption, "Factors That May Affect Future Results" in the company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies assume no obligation to update the information in this release.