LAS VEGAS, NV, Nov. 13, 2000 - SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) today introduced TriFlash, a high capacity, small-size embedded flash memory device. TriFlash initially will be targeted at two rapidly growing "killer applications" - Internet music players and cell phones. It will also be marketed to manufacturers of handheld computers, pagers, handheld GPS devices, digital cameras, digital set-top boxes and other consumer products. The announcement was made at the COMDEX trade show where SanDisk is conducting meetings with product manufacturers and retailers.
Nelson Chan, SanDisk's senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, said, "TriFlash is a breakthrough product that will allow SanDisk to get into new, fast-growing, high-profile markets that require embedded flash storage. SanDisk has long been recognized as the market leader in removable flash memory cards, such as our popular MultiMediaCard and CompactFlashÔ (CFÔ), but has not participated in the much larger market for embedded flash memory chips. We expect to change that with TriFlash."
Chan explained that "SanDisk has carefully studied the future market opportunities for flash storage and is leveraging its strength and expertise in the removable flash card market with this new TriFlash product. TriFlash will allow consumer electronics' manufacturers to get their products to market faster and at lower cost. Our new embedded flash has a simple three-pin serial interface and can accommodate - in the same footprint -- all existing and future generations of flash memory."
The "Tri" represents the three unique innovations incorporated into TriFlash; Simple, Seamless and Scalable. The simple, high performance serial interface follows the three input/output (I/O) pins of the SPI or MMC industry standards. Coupled with the built-in controller for performing transparently all flash memory management operations, TriFlash is easy and simple to design into virtually any microprocessor/microcontroller platform. The architecture of TriFlash allows the seamless integration of embedded flash with removable MultiMediaCards or Secure Digital Cards for incremental storage. The scalability of TriFlash allows all storage capacities from the lowest to the highest to fit into the same, small footprint plastic package. This feature is extendable to future, higher density generations of flash memory.
TriFlash will be initially available in 128, 256 and 512 Megabit (Mbit) capacities, which translates into 16, 32 and 64 Megabytes (MB) of storage. TriFlash, which will be sold in a TFBGA (thin, fine-pitch ball grid array) package, is 17 by 12 millimeters (mm) in size and 1.2mm thick. Product sampling will start in December and January with production scheduled for the first half of 2001. Pricing, in 1000 unit quantities, is expected to be: 16MB, $35; 32MB, $60; 64MB, $110.
Chan added that "we expect most MP3 players, cell phones, handheld computers and other popular mobile systems will have a slot for either a MultiMediaCard or a Secure Digital card. The least expensive and quickest way to add, for example, the MP3 feature to these products will be to include a TriFlash chip on the same bus used for the removable cards."
Other firms competing in the small-size embedded flash market sell raw flash chips that require external management because they do not include an on-board controller. Most of those products are architecturally different from TriFlash, are based on linear flash and are designed for "read often, write seldom" usage. TriFlash is optimized for high performance of both reads and writes, combined with low power consumption across all operations. The TriFlash controller saves on host system CPU and RAM buffering, ensures high reliability and provides a complete disk-like file management structure.
TriFlash is ideal for storing audio, video, data and images on small portable systems such as cell phones and MP3 players. Already manufacturers of cell phones, handheld computers and Internet music players are adding new features to these products which will require high capacity storage. Cell phones, for example, have started to offer MP3 capability and handheld computers are offering music player features.
TriFlash could be used in mobile phones in various ways. If a music playback feature was added to a cell phone, about 30 to 60 minutes of music could be stored on a 32MB TriFlash device using compression technology. An entire company directory, the phone book of a major city or personal E-mail could be loaded on to a TriFlash device.
The growing market for Internet appliances will provide another market for TriFlash. Storage requirements for such home appliances are growing as consumers start collecting family recipes, maps, financial data, vehicle history and other information on the devices.
TriFlash will give product manufacturers the option of either using TriFlash and/or removable flash memory cards in their consumer electronics products. The cost of having embedded memory in a product, rather than bundling it with removable memory cards, will be lower as there are costs in building a card. It is expected that some manufacturers will include both TriFlash and slots for flash memory cards in their consumer electronics products to increase storage capacity.
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.
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 Result" 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.