Introduction of 56nm 8-Gigabit (Gb) Multi-Level-Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Chips Begins This Quarter, with 56nm 16-Gb MLC Planned for Q207
56nm Transition Enables Continued Cost-effective MLC Flash Memory
MILPITAS, CALIFORNIA, January 23, 2007 - SanDisk Corporation® (NASDAQ: SNDK) today announced that it expects to see the launch of the next generation of NAND flash memory this quarter as it begins the transition from 70 nanometer (nm) to 56nm multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory chips at Fab 3, the 300mm wafer fabrication facility that is located at Toshiba's Yokkaichi Operations near Nagoya, Japan. In the first half of this year, SanDisk intends to start shipping products with the industry's highest available density of single-chip MLC NAND flash memory.
After qualifying limited engineering samples, SanDisk plans to introduce 8Gb (1 gigabyte) single-chip MLC NAND flash memory on 56nm process technology in the first quarter. In Q2-07, the company expects to introduce 56nm 16Gb (2 Gigabyte) NAND, which doubles the memory density per chip when compared to 70nm technology. Architectural innovations and improved programming efficiency in 56nm technology are expected to enhance product performance. The adoption of 56nm process technology allows SanDisk to continue its leadership in providing cost-effective flash memory-based products.
"With commencement of the 56nm technology, SanDisk is rolling out its fifth generation of MLC NAND flash memory," said Dr. Randhir Thakur, SanDisk's executive vice president of technology and worldwide operations. "The technology and design advances will help enable SanDisk products to offer approximately twice the improvement in write performance compared to the 70nm generation. We are pleased with the joint development of 56nm advanced technology with Toshiba, and expect it to become a production workhorse in Fab 3 during the second half of this year. We are executing according to plan and continue to make the captive Fabs highly cost-effective sources of flash memory for our expanding array of consumer products," he added.
SanDisk and Toshiba share output from the Yokkaichi facility and have co-developed many of the designs and technologies in MLC NAND flash. The new 56nm flash will be produced initially at Fab 3, the first 300mm wafer facility that SanDisk and Toshiba opened in 2005. By the end of this year, Fab 4, the new 300mm facility now under construction in connection with Flash Alliance, Ltd., a venture between the two companies, is expected to add to the 56nm flash production.
SanDisk is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products, using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is headquartered in Milpitas, California, and has operations worldwide, with more than half its sales outside the U.S.
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This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements about our business outlook, technological advancements, product performance, production schedules, shipments and cost reductions that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate and may significantly and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include among others: unexpected delays in the production of 56-nanometer NAND flash products at Fab 3, unexpected delays in completion of Fab 4 or in the ramp-up of 56-nanometer NAND flash production at Fab 4, once completed, inability to meet higher performance specifications, higher than expected costs and the other risks detailed from time-to-time under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. We do not intend to update the information contained in this press release.
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