Samsung adds MMC interface to NAND chips

Samsung is shipping a new type of embedded flash memory device that uses a standard MMC interface.

Samsung Electronics is sampling a new type of flash memory device that could make it easier for makers of mobile phones and MP3 players to increase the storage capacity of their products.

Samsung's moviNAND devices combine a NAND flash memory chip, an multimedia card controller and some firmware into a component that's small enough to be used in the latest portable electronics products, the company said.

Samsung has started shipping samples of 1GB and 2GB moviNAND chips to manufacturers and would begin mass producing them later this month. It planned to introduce 512MB and 4GB capacities by the end of this year, it said.

MoviNAND allowed device makers to include a large amount of flash memory in their products while still using a standard serial interface, the company said.

"The significance of the MMC interface is that the complexities of the native NAND interface and management are completely abstracted from the [portable device]," Samsung spokesman, John Lucas, said.

In addition, the MMC interface performance better than other standard interfaces because it has an 8-bit wide bus, allowing data to be processed at up to 52MB per second, he said.

NAND flash has become popular for its ability to store large amounts of data at relatively low cost and to retain that data when devices are switched off. It's used in memory sticks, memory cards and digital music players such as Apple Computer's iPod. Other NAND makers include Toshiba, Hynix Semiconductor and IM Flash Technologies.

It's one of several recent flash memory advancements from Samsung. This week, the South Korean company showed off a 32GB NAND flash memory chip built using an advanced, 40-nanometer manufacturing process.

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