Intel makes flash memory for cell phones

Written by Brett Thomas

August 2, 2006 | 14:38

Tags: #cell-phone #flash-memory #nor

Companies: #intel

Intel has made an announcement this week that expands its technology portfolio even further: the chip maker is now creating flash memory chips for cell phones. The chips themselves range from 32MB to 256MB, and can be combined for total memory of up to 1GB for more multimedia-based phones.

Around 20% of the world population uses cell phones, according to the GSM Association. However, it is thought that the biggest barrier to get over that 20% mark is cell phone cost, and a lot of that can come from the memory. Intel hopes to bring down the price of the entire cell phone market with its flash memory, along with diversifying its own offerings. The company has offered NOR flash chips for handhelds before, but previously it only dealt with higher-cost and higher-storage units.

Darin Billerbeck, VP and general manager of Intel’s Flash Products Group, had this to say:
"We’re expanding Intel’s proven leadership in NOR flash memory for handsets to the emerging low-cost handset market segment. Our handset customers can choose from a comprehensive menu of NOR flash memory products from 32Mb density at the low end to 1Gb density for multi-media cell phones."

The move into the lower cost cell phone market has been made possible by Intel's shift in manufacturing processes from 130nm to 65nm. Though in this industry we normally think of this as 'die shrink' due to how it affects CPUs, a smaller manufacturing process brings lower cost and higher yields to almost all silicon based products. Intel hopes to use this to their advantage by making considerably more and cheaper memory than its competitors, while still retaining profitability.

Got a thought on Intel's next big move? Do you wonder when your cell phone will have an "Intel Inside" logo? Do you think this could have further industry-wide repercussions? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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