Numonyx, a company formed earlier this year when Intel and STMicroelectronics each spun off part of their memory businesses, is looking to deliver one of its first NOR memory chip products in 2009. This new NOR memory chip, called Axcell M29EW Flash Memory, is made on a 65-nm manufacturing process and will store up to 2GB of data. Numonyx plans to sell these memory chips into the embedded systems market.
a company that got its start earlier this year when Intel and
STMicroelectronics each spun off part of their memory businesses
, is preparing
to bring new NOR flash memory chips to
market in 2009 built on 65-nanometer manufacturing technology.
At the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston
Oct. 28, Numonyx will display its Axcell M29EW NOR
Flash Memory chips, which are being built on the company's new 65-nm
technology. Numonyx has already begun sampling the first of these chips, and
full production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2009.
These NOR flash chips are some of the
first products that Numonyx is producing after the company formed earlier this
year. The company has already started to produce NOR
flash memory chips for cell phones.
The Axcell M29EW memory chips are specifically designed for embedded
systems, including high-end, multifunction printers; point-of-sale devices; communication
equipment; and consumer electronics, said Jeff Bader, marketing director for
the company's Embedded Business Group.
Right now, Numonyx offers NOR memory
chips for embedded systems that deliver about 128MB of data storage. When the new
Axcell M29EW series comes to market in 2009, Numonyx will increase the capacity
of its NOR memory chips to 256MB and
eventually offer memory chips that have a 2GB capacity.
"When you look at the embedded market, the range of applications is pretty
diverse," said Bader. "When you look at this application range, the
applications require a certain size of memory to put the code in or to store
the data in. That range is very broad and it matches the breadth of the
embedded market as well. We are talking about 256MB that we are introducing
today, and its opens up a density range for code and data storage."
In addition to the density range, Numonyx engineered a number of features
into the chips themselves. These technological advances include security
features that allow for password access protection, which protects the
intellectual property that is included in a device's firmware from being cloned
Numonyx has also included a faster programming mode that enables systems
builders to program these memory chips at speeds of 1.5MB per second. This
should reduce the time it takes to manufacture systems.
In the market for nonvolatile embedded memory, Numonyx is competing against
two established players: Samsung
and Spansion. There are also a number of smaller companies in Taiwan
and China that make
these types of memory chips.
The market is seen as a lucrative investment. Bader estimates that the
worldwide market for embedded memory is worth about $5.2 billion in revenue,
and more than half of the market-about $3.7 billion in revenue-is buying NOR
The other challenge that Numonyx and other memory makers face is price. The
market for NAND flash memory-the type of memory being used in solid-state
drives-DRAM (dynamic RAM) and NOR memory remains
under pressure, and prices
for all of these products continue to fall. While NOR prices are not as
unstable as DRAM and NAND flash, Bader said price does remain a concern for
Numonyx. (The company also makes NAND flash memory products.)
"The NAND side has been more volatile than the NOR,
but these two markets don't operate independently of each other," said Bader.
Numonyx does plan to switch to a new 45-nm manufacturing process for its
memory chips that are used in mobile devices in 2009. A specific date has not
been made official yet.