Global Flash Memory Industry Trends – December 2022 Update

Global Flash Memory Industry Trends


Memory units have always been viewed as “process drivers” and profit generators. A product that pushes the state-of-the-art in processing, is produced in significant wafer volumes, and has a die yield that can be used to gauge the efficiency of the process called as process driver. Devices that use memory, MPUs, and ASICs all share this characteristic.


In the middle of the 1980s, Intel made the strategic choice to leave the memory business for financial reasons. Intel undoubtedly thought it would be a good idea to include cutting-edge processing methods into microprocessors so that they could handle drivers as well.


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One memory type that can be used for both storing and computation, with any quantity of memory coupled to the system being able to be used for either function, is the ideal for some persons interested in cutting-edge memory technology. Within the next ten years, new technologies such as PCM promise to make that vision a reality. 


This brings its first commercial product, 3D XPoint, the newest developing memory technology and us to phase-change memory (PCM). The writing of a bit from a 1 to a 0 is handled in PCM devices like 3D XPoint by electronically flipping the resistance of each individual cell. This might make it significantly quicker than even NAND storage, approaching DRAM speeds.



The most important problem with IC technology improvement is feature size, notably the trend toward smaller feature sizes every few years. With each reduction in feature size, today’s procedures demand significant process change. Additionally, one or two extra mask layers are typically needed for every new memory generation. Memories have a life cycle, just like any other commercial product. 


Over the past ten years, the flash memory sector has undergone a significant transition. Following are the few key product launches of flash memories in the global market across sectors:

S. No. Company Product Product launch timeline Remarks
1 Micron Technologies 232 Layer 3D NAND Developed and Launched : 2022 With a storage density of 14.6 Gigabits per square millimetre, the package size can be reduced by 28%.
2 KIOXIA America BiCS FLASH 3D Developed and Launched : 2022 Coupled with Enhanced Architecture that enables more steady sequential write performance and lowers internal write amplification
3 Alliance Memory AS25F Serial Memory Developed and Launched : 2022 It combines quick programme and erase times with quick read performance up to 133MHz.
4 Smart Modular Technologies DC4800 PCIe Gen 4 family Developed and Launched : 2022 Built with a unique hardware-accelerated SSD controller that consumes less power without sacrificing storage input/output (I/O) speed.
5 YMTC Ltd YMTC 232 Layer 1TBit Developed and Launched : 2022 The memory’s production process is streamlined and it can perform up to six asynchronous multi-plane independent (AMPI) operations.



Flash memory will continue to be used for storing as long as flash chip prices keep falling. Flash, however, is not only used for storage; further new memory technologies are also on the rise. A company’s main concern when installing an edge computing system is data management. In order to reduce latency, these systems require compute capacity and storage options at the edge. 


Zoned storage is the newest storage option that can aid with the exponential growth in data. This group of hardware enables host and storage devices to work together to boost throughput, decrease latencies, and increase storage capacity. Additionally, zoned storage enables enterprise data centres, cloud service providers to create more effective, and scalable data storage tiers.


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Developers and vendors must find solutions to ensure data is saved in the case of a power outage as the use of in-memory database systems where data is kept in active memory for quick processing increases. The NAND flash, a non-volatile memory, has met the power loss requirements by retaining the most recent data used when the system power is switched off. 


This utilization of power efficient flash memories can be seen across the replacement-gate design of Micron’s 232-layer 3D NAND lays the groundwork for a new wave of end-to-end technological innovation. It blends charge trap and CMOS-under-array to enable remarkable data transfer rates across a variety of devices.



  • Smartphones Flash Memory Trends

The 5G-capable smartphones are already beginning to reach our shores as a wave of innovation. The dominance of Micron in mobile memory and storage enables the full potential of 5G experiences.


Micron were the first to mass-produce LPDDR5 and bring uMCP5 technology to market for 5G, and continue to make it possible for OEMs to fully benefit from download rates of one Gbps or higher provided by 5G in order to unleash the potential of their cutting-edge processing engines.


Mobile devices’ NAND Flash storage subsystem is made up of many memory chips and a NAND flash controller chip that are all housed inside a single 11.5mm x 13mm BGA IC. Data transfer rates and power usage are the most crucial performance variables for the sector. 


Particularly in high-end smartphones, these need to be carefully managed because they must combine competitive speed with a relatively constrained power budget in order to maximise battery life. There is a constant push to advance these gadgets because of the surge in customer demand for real-time information and the popularity of mobile gaming.


  • SSD and Flash Drives Flash Memory Trends

Over the past five years, NAND flash consumption has skyrocketed globally, and new technologies, including SSDs, are now making substantial inroads into enterprise computing devices, including servers, desktops, workstations, and notebooks.


NAND flash prices have decreased significantly enough over the last few years to enable new primary storage options for servers and client systems, such as solid-state drives. 


In computers with appropriate interfaces, such as SATA or SAS, SSDs can be used in place of hard discs (or conventional disk-spinning hard drives). SSDs outperform traditional hard drives in terms of performance and longevity. SSDs are entirely semiconductor devices and have no moving parts. SSDs do not experience mechanical latencies as hard drives do as a result.


In collaboration with its manufacturing partner Kioxia Corporation, WD successfully developed its fifth-generation BiCS5 3D NAND technology. They have greatly increased the capacity and performance of the 3D NAND technology by utilising recent developments to our multi-tier memory hole technology to boost density laterally as well as by adding more storage layers.


  • Laptops / PC Flash Memory Trends

The flash tablets have mostly taken the place of laptops in recent years, at least in residential settings. Tablets may now provide all of this for people who previously only used their laptops for gaming, viewing movies, and accessing the internet. This eliminates the weight and thickness of a laptop. 


NAND flash memory, a non-volatile solid-state drive (SSD) technology that can store data without electricity, is a component of tablets. In comparison to a typical laptop’s hard drive, NAND flash memory is a favoured storage solution for many manufacturers and customers, especially for applications requiring a small amount of space. New 3D NAND technology from Intel raises the bar for flash storage to a completely new level. The new processor features floating-gate cells and offers three times more storage space.


Tablets have less storage capacity than laptops that use hard disc drives, some of which now come close to 1 terabyte in size. The foundation of hard disc drives is made up of swiftly spinning magnetic platters and read-write heads that move over the surface of the platters to record and/or receive data. This is obviously very different from the way floating-gate transistors are coupled in series to build NAND flash memory.



  • NAND Flash Memory Flash Memory Trends

Flash memory has developed into a potent and reasonably priced solid-state storage technology that is frequently employed in consumer electronics products and other mobile devices. NAND Flash and NOR Flash, the two main types of non-volatile semiconductor memories used in portable electronics devices, have emerged as the predominant types of Flash memory. 


NAND Flash is largely utilised as a high-density data storage medium for consumer electronics like USB solid-state drives and digital still cameras since it was built with a very small cell size to enable a cheap cost per bit of stored data.


Nevertheless, lately, it has been harder to tell the difference between the two kinds of Flash memory. The highest SK Hynix 238-layer NAND Flash product in the industry has been created which boasts the smallest NAND flash chip in terms of size, a 50% increase in data transfer speed over previous generation chips, and power efficiency. It is anticipated to go into production by the first half of 2023.


NAND has become a viable choice for a wider range of applications thanks to new cell phone controllers that enable it as a replacement for or addition to NOR Flash. Additionally, with the rise of feature-rich phones that include camera, audio, video, gaming, and other functionality, the demand for data storage space and performance in cell phones has expanded substantially.


  • NOR Flash Memory Flash Memory Trends

In the past, relatively modest amounts of executable code for embedded computing devices, such as basic wearables or tiny IoT devices, have been stored in NOR flash memory.


Because of its dependability, quick read operations, and random access capabilities, NOR is a good choice for code storing. NOR is perfect for storing firmware, boot code, operating systems, and other data that changes infrequently since code may be directly run in place. 


Intel created NOR flash for the first time in 1988, and after so many years of development, it is widely used in many computers and embedded products. It has a high transfer efficiency and is reasonably priced for small capacities of 1 to 4MB, but its performance is significantly impacted by its extremely slow write and erase speeds.


Infineon has made strides to provide a wide selection of quad SPI NOR Flash memory based on both MIRRORBITTM and industry-standard Floating Gate technology. Due to its quick, random read speed, NOR Flash is the best choice for code storage in embedded systems.


The information has been sourced from our report titled “Global Semiconductor Industry Quarterly Update”. Download free sample to know more

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