At the summit, several NAND flash specialists agreed that its only a matter of months before the first NAND flash laptops enter the market. Flash chips are now available in 4GB capacity and will continue going up from there as improvements in fabrication continue to take place.Microsoft, Intel show flash products Advances in flash memory technology for PCs from Microsoft and Intel were highlighted at the event. Microsoft program manager Matt Ayers presented a talk on "Using Flash Memory to Improve Performance in Windows Vista," and Intel Fellow Knut Grimsrud discussed "Flash Changes Computing, Computing Changes Flash." Demonstrations of Microsofts flash-based ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive technologies and Intels flash-based Robson technology were given. Ayers, a program manager in the Microsoft Windows Client Performance Group, is currently working on flash-based technologies, such as ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive, that are aimed at improving Windows Vista performance and responsiveness. "Flash memory can boost PC speeds without increasing clock frequencies and power consumption," said Dr. Lance Leventhal, who served as the program chairperson. "Intels Robson nonvolatile cache technology and Microsofts ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive technologies take advantage of flash memory to reduce startup times, increase operating speeds, and lower power consumption in the next generation of personal computers." Microsoft, Intel, and other industry leaders believe that flash memory is the key to the next generation of PCs. "Robson flash technology will provide faster startup, quicker access to data and programs, and reduced power consumption," Ayers said. "Robson offers a speed boost that cannot be matched by raising clock frequencies without running into power dissipation limitations. And while multicore processors are good for applications like graphics rendering, they do not really help with typical user tasks like powering up or accessing programs." A laptop with Robson flash technology will power up almost immediately, compared to several seconds for an identical laptop without Robson, Ayers said. And a Robson laptop will open Adobe Reader in less than 0.5 seconds, compared to over 5 seconds for a non-Robson laptop, he added. Other events coming up The Flash Memory Summit has already produced at least one spinoff event: The Non-Volatile Memory Conference will be held Sept. 14, in Santa Clara, Calif. Flash memory also will be a major topic at the Storage World Conference in Boston, Sept. 19-21. This weeks event also brought some attention to the ASNP (Association of Storage Networking Professionals), and to StorageNetworking.org at the University of California, San Diego. eWEEK is preparing an in-depth report on the overall state of flash, to be published later in August. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
"These laptops may be super-thinperhaps only a half-inch thick," said Alan Niebel, CEO of Web-Feet Research in Monterey, Calif.