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NAND Flash Revenue Undergoes 8.3% QoQ Growth in 1Q20 in Light of Surging Demand from Data Centers, Says TrendForce

According to the latest investigations by the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, NAND Flash bit shipment in 1Q20 was relatively on par with 4Q19. The overall ASP of NAND Flash products also climbed during the period. As a result, the global NAND Flash revenue for the quarter went up by 8.3% QoQ to US$13.6 billion.

In 1Q20, demand for enterprise SSDs exceeded supply because cloud service providers' procurement for data centers had been growing progressively since 4Q19. Also, inventories of NAND Flash suppliers mostly returned to normal during the period. Consequently, most NAND Flash products for the major applications experienced a rise in contract prices. As for the impact of COVID-19 during the Lunar New Year, TrendForce's investigations at the time found that the server supply chain managed to make a better recovery than the supply chains for notebook computers and smartphones. The impact of the outbreak on the storage demand from the cloud services sector was thus quite limited. On the other hand, the production of notebooks and smartphones was affected by logistical problems and breakage in the component supply chain. Because of this, notebook and smartphone manufacturers have gradually resumed production since March.

KIOXIA Showcases PCIe 4.0 SSDs, New Software-enabled Flash Tech at OCP Virtual Summit

From introducing game-changing new technologies to being the first to deliver PCIe 4.0 U.3 SSDs, KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.), continues to demonstrate its commitment to delivering cutting-edge flash solutions. This dedication will be on full display at this week's Open Compute Project (OCP) Virtual Summit and Future Technologies Symposium, where KIOXIA will showcase its data center and enterprise solid state drive (SSD) portfolio.

At the Summit, KIOXIA will highlight its CM6 and CD6 Series PCIe 4.0 NVMe enterprise and data center SSDs, KumoScale storage software based on NVM Express over Fabrics (NVMe-oF ) and a new Software-Enabled Flash (SEF) technology that redefines digital storage. KIOXIA has the broadest portfolio of SSDs in the market, including SSDs for client PCs, data center, hyperscale, high-end servers and storage systems.

KIOXIA Redefines Hyperscale Digital Storage with Software-Enabled Flash Technology

KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.) today announced the introduction of Software-Enabled FlashTM (SEF), a new technology that combines software flexibility, host control and flash native semantics into a flash native API and purpose-built controller. Targeted to data center directors, architects and developers, SEF technology makes flash easier to manage, more timely to deploy and more predictable in nature - putting the power in programmers' hands.

With hyperscale computing redefining storage and virtualization, the race is on to orchestrate digital storage for cloud applications in a way that drives greater efficiency at scale. Effectively and efficiently utilizing flash for stable, predictable latency in ever-changing cloud workloads through direct host management of flash will quickly be critical to realizing these much-needed efficiencies.

Samsung Developing 160-layer 3D NAND Flash Memory

Samsung Electronics is reportedly developing its 7th generation V-NAND memory with ultra-high 3D stacking technology. The first model will feature at least 160 layers, subsequent models will feature more. In early signs of the company not wanting to yield the technological initiative to China's YMTC, the first 160-layer V-NAND by Samsung is slated to come out roughly around the time YMTC's 128-layer 3D NAND flash hits mass production, towards the end of 2020.

At the heart of the ultra-high 3D stack is Samsung's proprietary Double Stack technology. The double-stack technology creates electron holes at two separate times for current to go through circuits. The current-generation single-stack chips creates these holes once throughout the stack per cycle. The 160-layer NAND flash is expected to herald a 67% increase in densities per package over the 96-layer chips in the market. Densities could also be increased by other means such as switching to newer semiconductor fabrication nodes, and PLC (5 bits per cell), which is currently being developed by KIOXIA.

KIOXIA Corporation Announces Launch of New Brand Consumer Product Portfolio

KIOXIA Europe (formerly Toshiba Memory) is pleased to announce the launch of KIOXIA branded consumer products including the company's microSDs, SDs, USB Memory and SSDs. KIOXIA and its group companies started to operate under its new company name on October 1st, 2019. After the brand name change of its business-to-business products, KIOXIA has launched the completely new look and feel of its consumer products in April 2020.

With its comprehensive portfolio of microSD, SD, USB memory and SSD, KIOXIA offers consumer products that are specifically designed for enabling end-users to store their digital way of life wherever and whenever they want. KIOXIA's consumer products are mainly focused and ideally suited for use with smartphones, tablets and PCs, in gaming, digital cameras and more.

Driven by Strong Demand from Data Center Clients, 4Q19 NAND Flash Revenue Grows 8.5%, Says TrendForce

According to the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, 4Q19 NAND flash bit shipment increased by nearly 10% QoQ thanks to demand growth from data center clients. On the supply side, contract prices made a successful rebound due to shortages caused by the power outage at Kioxia's Yokkaichi production base in June. In sum, 4Q19 NAND flash revenue reached $12.5 billion, an 8.5% increase QoQ.

The stronger-than-expected 4Q19 performance from the demand side helped improve supplier inventory back to normal levels. In response, NAND suppliers were able to reduce their allocations to the wafer market and instead focus on shipping products with comparatively higher margins.

KIOXIA America Debuts UFS Ver. 3.1 Embedded Flash Memory Devices

Further cementing its position as a leading provider of storage for next-gen mobile devices, KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.), the U.S.-based subsidiary of KIOXIA Corporation, today announced that it has started sampling Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Ver. 3.1 embedded flash memory devices. Well suited for mobile applications requiring high-performance with low power consumption, the new lineup utilizes KIOXIA's cutting-edge BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory and is supported in four capacities: 128 gigabytes (GB), 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 terabyte (TB).

The new devices integrate BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory and a controller in a JEDEC-standard 11.5 x 13 mm package. The controller performs error correction, wear leveling, logical-to-physical address translation, and bad-block management for simplified system development. "KIOXIA was the first company to introduce UFS in 2013[4] and the first to offer UFS Ver. 3.0 last year and we continue to be at the forefront of UFS memory with this Ver. 3.1 announcement today," noted Scott Beekman, director of managed flash memory products for KIOXIA America, Inc. "Our newest offerings enable next-gen mobile devices to take full advantage of the connectivity benefits of 5G, leading to faster downloads and reduced lag time - and an improved user experience."

KIOXIA First to Deliver Enterprise and Data Center PCIe 4.0 U.3 SSDs

The PCI Express 4.0 specification was designed to double the performance of server and storage systems, pushing speeds up to 16.0 gigatransfers per second (GT/s) or 2 gigabits per second (Gb/s) throughput per lane, and driving new performance levels for cloud and enterprise applications. Today, KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.) announced that its lineup of CM6 and CD6 Series PCIe 4.0 NVM Express (NVMe ) enterprise and data center solid state drives (SSDs) are now shipping to customers.

An established leader in developing PCIe and NVMe SSDs, KIOXIA delivers never-before-seen performance. KIOXIA was the first company to publicly demonstrate PCIe 4.0 SSDs and is now the first to ship these next-generation drives. The CM6 and CD6 Series SSDs are compliant to the latest NVMe specification, and include key features such as in-band NVMe-MI, persistent event log, namespace granularity, and shared stream writes. Additionally, both drives are SFF-TA-1001 conformant (also known as U.3), which allows them to be used in tri-mode enabled backplanes, which can accept SAS, SATA or NVMe SSDs.

Plextor at CES 2020: M9P Plus AIC SSD and its M.2 Twin

Plextor showed off its very recently announced M9P line of premium PCI-Express NVMe SSDs at CES 2020. The M9P Plus comes in both half-height add-in card (AIC) form-factor, and a more conventional M.2-2280 form-factor. In both, it leverages PCI-Express 3.0 x4 along with the NVMe 1.3 protocol. At the heart of these drives is the Marvell 88SS1092 "Eldora Plus" controller that has 8 flash channels. This controller is paired with Kioxia 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash (BiCS 4), and a DDR4 DRAM cache.

With capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the M9P offers sequential reads of up to 3,400 MB/s, with up to 2,200 MB/s writes (up to 1,700 MB/s writes for the 256 GB variant). Endurance (TBW) for the three models are proportionately rated at 160 TB, 320 TB, and 640 TB. The 256 GB variant of the M.2-2280 model is priced at $51, the 512 GB variant at $81, and the 1 TB variant at $135. The AIC equivalents are priced at roughly $15 premiums over these prices, and in addition to the convenience of AIC (easier to swap in a test bench), they feature some RGB LED embellishments.

Kioxia, Formerly Toshiba Memory, Makes its CES Debut

One of the big hardware industry changes of 2019 was the formal spin-off of Toshiba Memory as an entirely independent firm called Kioxia. This is big, because Toshiba is regarded as the inventor of NAND flash as we know it; and a pioneering firm with DRAM, NAND flash, and other forms of solid-state storage. Toshiba retains the hard disk business. Having formally begun operations only in Q4-2019, much of Kioxia's upcoming products are in development, but we still caught some of their latest SSDs that implement PCIe gen 4.0 and NVMe 1.4 protocol, besides some former-Toshiba products under new Kioxia branding. Kioxia is planning to make a big splash in the near future as its pioneering Twin BiCS Flash tech hits the market, besides scoring design wins with the automotive and data-center industries.

The CD6 and CM6 SSDs are star-attractions. The CD6 is designed for data-centers, and comes in capacities ranging all the way from 800 GB to 15 TB, with 1 to 3 DWPD endurance. It uses the next-generation U.3 (SFF-TA-1001) connector with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 physical-layer and NVMe 1.4 protocol. Among its security features are SIE, FIPS140-2, and SED Opal/Ruby. The drive is built in the 15 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor. The CM6 is its cousin, targeted at enterprise environments with higher mission-criticality. With capacities ranging from 800 GB to a staggering 30 TB, the drive offers sequential transfer-rates of up to 6,400 MB/s by leveraging PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and NVMe 1.4. Much like the CD6, the CM6 uses the new U.3 connector, and is built in the 15 mm form-factor. Endurance and security feature-set are identical to the CD6. We also spotted the 2+ year old rebranded XD5-series and PM5-series in fresh Kioxia colors. Lastly, there are the XG6 and XG6-P SSDs from 2019 transitioned to the Kioxia brand.

Kioxia Develops New 3D Semicircular Flash Memory Cell Structure "Twin BiCS FLASH"

Kioxia Corporation today announced the development of the world's first three-dimensional (3D) semicircular split-gate flash memory cell structure "Twin BiCS FLASH" using specially designed semicircular Floating Gate (FG) cells. Twin BiCS FLASH achieves superior program slope and a larger program/erase window at a much smaller cell size compared to conventional circular Charge Trap (CT) cells. These attributes make this new cell design a promising candidate to surpass four bits per cell (QLC) for significantly higher memory density and fewer stacking layers. This technology was announced at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) held in San Francisco, CA on December 11th.

3D flash memory technology has achieved high bit density with low cost per bit by increasing the number of cell stacked layers as well as by implementing multilayer stack deposition and high aspect ratio etching. In recent years, as the number of cell layers exceeds 100, managing the trade-offs among etch profile control, size uniformity and productivity is becoming increasingly challenging. To overcome this problem, Kioxia developed a new semicircular cell design by splitting the gate electrode in the conventional circular cell to reduce cell size compared to the conventional circular cell, enabling higher-density memory at a lower number of cell layers.

KIOXIA America Introduces Industry's First 512GB Automotive UFS

The next generation of automotive systems are hungry for more. More advanced infotainment and ADAS1 systems. More storage for event data recording. Support for more 3D mapping. In a move that makes more a reality, KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.), the U.S.-based subsidiary of KIOXIA Corporation, today announced that it has begun sampling the industry's first 512 gigabyte (GB) Automotive Universal Flash Storage (UFS) JEDEC Version 2.1 embedded memory solution. KIOXIA America's Automotive UFS supports a wide temperature range (-40°C to +105°C), meets AEC-Q100 Grade 2 requirements and offers the extended reliability required by various automotive applications. The 512 GB device joins the company's existing lineup of Automotive UFS, which includes capacities of 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB.

Innovations such as autonomous vehicles, more advanced infotainment systems, digital clusters, telematics, and ADAS provide not only an elevated driver experience but also a greater demand for storage within vehicles.

Kioxia, Formerly Toshiba Memory, Officially Begins Operations

Kioxia Holdings Corporation, formerly Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation, today announced that it is officially operating under its new corporate identity, effective immediately. "Kioxia's official brand launch is an important step in both our evolution as an independent company and our commitment to lead the industry into the new era of memory," said Stacy J. Smith, executive chairman of Kioxia Holdings Corporation. "The company will build on its history as a world leader in memory solutions to not only meet the memory demands of the future, but to also fulfill our mission to uplift the world with memory."

With its official launch, Kioxia has unveiled its new corporate logo and brand identity. The silver of Kioxia's new logo will be the company's official corporate color, meant to represent the superior quality of its memory technology. In addition to silver, the company will have communication colors including, light blue, magenta, light green, orange, yellow and light gray.

Toshiba Memory to Acquire Lite-On's SSD Business

Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation, which will rebrand as Kioxia Holdings Corporation on October 1, 2019, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with LITE-ON Technology Corporation to acquire its Solid State Drive (SSD) business. The purchase price is 165 million US dollars; the transaction is expected to close by the first half of 2020 and is subject to customary closing adjustments and regulatory approval.

LITE-ON is a Taiwan-based supplier of optoelectronics, storage, semiconductors and other devices. Toshiba Memory and LITE-ON share a commitment to quality, innovation and manufacturing excellence. With cultural synergies and LITE-ON's proven experience in the SSD field for personal computers and data centers, Toshiba Memory sees this acquisition as a way to significantly strengthen its SSD business.

Toshiba Memory to Rebrand as "Kioxia" in October

Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation announced today that it will officially change its name to Kioxia Holdings Corporation on October 1, 2019. The name Kioxia (kee-ox-ee-uh) will be adopted for the names of all Toshiba Memory companies, largely effective on the same date.

Kioxia is a combination of the Japanese word kioku meaning "memory" and the Greek word axia meaning "value." Merging "memory" with "value," Kioxia represents the company's mission to uplift the world with "memory," which forms the foundation of the company's vision. Kioxia will cultivate the new era of memory, defined by rapidly increasing demands for large-capacity, high-performance storage and data processing, which positions the company to grow sustainably as a leading flash memory producer for many years to come.
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