News broke earlier this week that Apple has acquired Israel-based fabless flash memory firm Anobit for as much as $400 million according to TheMarker, adding another leading chip maker to the company’s portfolio. Anobit’s NAND flash memory is already used in Apple products including the iPhone and iPad, and the firm’s technology is said to offer several advantages over that of its rivals. As DigiTimes pointed out in a recent report, the move also means Anobit’s other clients are now forced to look elsewhere as Apple becomes the exclusive owner of Anobit’s chip technology. Major players including Hynix and Micron were Anobit partners in the past, taking advantage of the company’s proprietary technology that improves the performance and lifespan of its flash memory products. Hynix, Micron and others are now reportedly looking to Taiwan-based companies including Phison Electronics and Silicon Motion Technology following the acquisition. Direct gains from Apple’s Anobit buy include the company’s technology and talent, but another advantage over rivals now emerges as a clear secondary benefit — smartphone vendors that used NAND flash memory chips made by soon-to-be former Anobit clients will no longer be able to utilize Anobit’s class-leading technology. More →
As Apple and Samsung continue to battle over patents and product design, Samsung seems to be positioned to take the biggest hit. The South Korea-based electronics giant has already seen sales of its tablet blocked in multiple regions and Apple is digging deeper. Dow Jones reported back in February that Apple was expected to make roughly $7.8 billion in component purchases from Samsung in 2011, but the future of the relationship is now in jeopardy. Reports from this past June that Apple moved away from Samsung for its mobile processors were seemingly confirmed last month, and DigiTimes on Thursday reported that Apple is looking beyond Samsung for its mobile memory chips as well. Read on for more. More →
Apple could cut Samsung from its list of part suppliers, an arrangement that is worth as much as $5 billion for Samsung, one analyst has suggested. “They have become more competitors and less partners and so I think Apple will definitely not be looking to Samsung as its go-to partner-of-choice for NAND flash,” Brian Marshall, a Gleacher & Co. analyst told The Globe and Mail. Apple could instead choose to get its NAND flash products from other companies, such as Hynix Semiconductor, Micron, and Toshiba. Similarly, if Apple were to bail on Samsung as a parts provider, the iPhone maker could look to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) or Intel for processors, but it would also need to find another provider for LCDs. Samsung and Apple have been locked in multiple legal battles since Apple accused Samsung of creating “copycat” devices and sought to block the import of its products in the United States. More →
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new AppleTV, back on September 1, there was no mention of the internal storage capabilities of the device. Mr. Jobs did mention, several times actually, that the device’s focus was on streaming content, not storing it. Today, thanks to a take-apart by iFixit, we know that while content storage may not be the AppleTV’s focus, it still has the ability. In dismantling the small, black box, iFixit found a Samsung 8 GB NAND Flash storage chip hiding inside; the same chip featured in the iPad. Obviously, the device needs storage for its operating system and room to buffer content, but 8 GB seems like an awful lot. Perhaps an indication of an AppleTV application store, or new OS down the road? Who knows. The only reason that it is out-of-place is due to the fact that Apple neglected to mention it. More →
Toshiba has announced the birth of their 128 GB NAND flash memory module. The new flash storage chip “integrates sixteen 64Gbit NAND chips” onto a minuscule 17 x 22 x 1.4mm chip. Toshiba writes: “Demand continues to grow for large density chips that support high-resolution video and deliver enhanced storage, particularly in the area of embedded memories with a controller function that minimize development requirements and ease integration into system designs.” Let’s hope we see these new 128 GB beasts in slates and smartphones in the very near future. We’ve got the full press release for you after the bump.
Samsung has pushed the limits of microSD technology, doubling the available flash memory from 16GB to 32GB. The new cards use 30-nm class 32GB NAND flash memory in a casing that is 1mm thick and a mere 0.7mm high. Currently in the hands of OEMs for sampling, Samsung will start to mass produce the 32GB card starting next month. No word on pricing but like most memory products, it will presumably start high and fall quickly. Full press release after the break. More →
Ever since the iPhone and iPod touch were released, it seems like a trend that its memory capacity doubles every single year: 8GB, 16GB and 32GB for the iPhone and twice that for the iPod touch. Now that Toshiba can pack 64GB of NAND flash memory onto a single chip, it’s easy for us to imagine this technology finding its way into the next generation iPhone and iPod touch. If you’ve been one of those people holding off on buying an iPhone or iPod touch because of your massive iTunes library, your decision might get a little easier this coming summer. More →
Taiwan-based chip manufacturer JMicron is reportedly preparing to make a splash next month at Computex 2009 when it debuts its latest breakthrough NAND flash controller. The JMF612, successor to the company’s JMF602 pictured above, represents one of several technological advancements that could combine to substantially reduce Solid State Drive (SSD) pricing in the near future. The JMF612 is designed for a new breed of SSD drives that will be smaller, faster and cheaper to manufacture. Combined with an inexpensive single-chip controller such as JMicron’s, SSDs should become much more accessible and affordable — with drive pricing possibly impacted as soon as this holiday season. What’s more, the blazing speed of the JMF612 may very well lead to the introduction of a 1TB SSD as the chip’s improved efficiency will allow for larger drive sizes. JMicron is expected to begin mass production of its new controller in July.
Thinking about selling your iPhone in anticipation of the upcoming 3G launch? Proceed with caution. According to iPhone Atlas, “delted” user data is still able to be recovered by future owners. It seems that user data is held in unused portions of the device’s NAND memory, even after a full wipe has been executed. A recent attempt to mine data from a fresh-out-of-the-box refurbished unit revealed a significant amount of sensitive data, including emails, contacts, and more. To be fair, the miner recovered the data with professional grade forensics software, so you probably won’t have much to worry about from the average end-user, but it’s still something to be mindful of if you’re looking to sell your unit second hand.