Apple may acquire Anobit in $500 million deal
Apple is rumored to be in talks to buy an Israeli startup called Anobit in deal said to be valued up to $500 million. The fabless semiconductor company has developed a flash memory controller technology that makes cheap non-volatile memory work as well as more expensive memory. The company claims to be able to make 3-bit multi-level cell MLC NAND flash, which typically has a shorter working life, last as long as 2-bit MLC, and 2-bit MLC function as long as single-level cell flash.
LSI chips developed through IBM partnership
Toshiba has reportedly established an agreement with Samsung over its system chips, with fabrication said to be outsourced to the latter company, according to an unconfirmed report in the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. The strategy change is reportedly designed to allow Toshiba to concentrate its production efforts on flash memory.
Technology uses probabilistic processing
A new chip, created by startup Lyric Semiconductor, promises to shrink flash memory and provide new methods for spam filtering or other processes. The technology utilizes "probability processing" to solve certain problems that can benefit from determining the probability of bits being zero or one. Lyric's LEC chips are designed with new gates, architecture and language dedicated solely to processing probabilities.
Components could double storage on current devices
Toshiba on Monday introduced a new 64GB embedded NAND flash memory module, claimed to be the highest capacity in the industry. The component combines a dedicated controller and sixteen 32Gbit chips manufactured using the company's 32nm technology. Chip thinning and layering methods help bring the chip thickness down to just 30 micrometers.
Flash memory investigation
The US International Trade Commission has reportedly begun an investigation focusing on several companies that produce or purchase NAND flash components, including Samsung, RIM, Apple and others, according to Barron's. BTG International has accused Samsung of violating several patents involving "MLC" type flash memory.
OCZ Solid 2 SSD announced
OCZ has released its OCZ Solid 2 SATA II 2.5” Solid State Drive, using MLC-based NAND flash memory for a balance between performance and price. While MLC memory is slightly slower than SLC memory, the new drives deliver 100MB/sec write (120GB model) and 125MB/sec read speeds and a seek time of less than 0.1ms using the less expensive memory type. The drives carry a 64MB onboard cache and a three-year warranty, while mean time between failure is rated at 1.5 million hours.
Flash prices climb
Speculation that Apple has been ordering large quantities of NAND flash memory and constraining global supplies has contributed to a recent surge in prices. An inSpectrum report claims that the mainstream 16GB multi-level cell (MLC) components appreciated over 40 percent through February. The spot price has jumped by eight percent just in the past week, following reports suggesting that preparations for the next-generation iPhone were reducing inventory levels for the memory modules.
iPhone flash memory orders
Apple's preparations for the next-generation iPhone line is constraining worldwide supplies for leading flash memory manufacturers and may increase prices. A new analyst report says that Apple’s (unannounced) refresh of iPhones is putting increased pressure on flash memory manufacturers managing dwindling inventory. According to Cult of Mac, ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh is telling clients that Apple has begun placing orders for memory for a yet unannounced upgrade to the current iPhone 3G and the rumored "iPhone Nano" or a similar device. Most recently RBC analyst Mark Abramsky claimed that a $99 iPhone would appear later this summer, but that the device would not be a rumored iPhone nano, but instead a pared-down regular iPhone.
43nm SLC chips announced
Toshiba has announced higher density, faster memory chips in a new lineup of 43nm single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory, featuring 2GB, 4GB and 8GB individual chips. The 43 nanometer process allows Toshiba to deliver double the density of its previous 56nm process, while also delivering SLC speeds, which are approximately 2.5x faster than the more common, denser but historically slower MLC (Multi-Level Cell) memory.
Toshiba to buy SanDisk?
Earlier this month, a report had Samsung interested in buying portable flash memory maker SanDisk, and today’s rumors have another suitor considering making a bid for the company. A newswire reports Toshiba is the latest interested party, and is only considering a bid in order to prevent competitor Samsung from taking over SanDisk, thus creating a near monopoly as the sole supplier of NAND flash memory devices, components and subsystems.
Lexar intros 16GB CF card
Portable storage device maker Lexar on Tuesday announced it has doubled the storage capacity of its current 8GB UDMA CF card with the upcoming release of a higher capacity Compact Flash memory card, the 16GB Professional UDMA 300x. The 300x speed rating translates to sustained write speeds of 45MBps, which is quick enough to keep up with most modern digital SLR cameras’ burst shooting modes. Meant for professional photographers, the Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) interface allows time savings in post-production time when used in conjunction with another UDMA-enabled device.
Long-life Flash memory
A new type of flash memory is being developed, according to today's reports, which not only takes up less space and uses less electricity than the current flash memory technology, but also lasts much longer as well. The ferroelectric chips under development by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as well as the University of Tokyo will outlive current flash memory by a factor of about 10,000. Today's flash memory chips have a life of about 10 years, and can be re-written only an average of 10,000 times.
Seagate to buy NAND maker?
Seagate is rumored to be looking into buying out Intel's 49 percent stake in the IM Flash Technologies joint venture between the chip maker and Micron, a flash memory manufacturer, according to analysts. That is just one option for Seagate, but the analysts say the company would be better off buying into SanDisk, as it is not involved with any other companies and is less costly. Furthermore, they maintain that Seagate needs to purchase or team up with a NAND flash memory maker in order to be successful in its solid state drive (SSD) production.
Sanyo Xacti HD1010 debuts
Sanyo has launched its compact, lightweight Xacti HD1010, a full 1080i high-definition digital camcorder featuring "Face Chaser" face detection technology for both video and stills as well as a new slow-motion video mode at 60 fps and seven frames-per-second sequential shooting for action photography. The HD1010 features a 10x all-glass optical zoom, image stabilization, and a large 2.7-inch LCD; it takes 1920x1080 video at up to a slow-motion 300fps and 4-megapixel digital still images and records both to SD memory cards or SDHC cards up to 32GB.
Corsair ships Mac memory
Computer and flash memory maker Corsair announced today the addition of high-density 2GB and 4GB DIMM kits to its Mac Memory line. Each new kit features two sticks of either 1GB or 2GB fully buffered 667MHz memory made to work in Mac Pro desktop computers. Previously, Corsair offered only 1GB, 2GB kit, 2GB and 4GB kits for the MacBook, MacBook Pro and Intel-chipped iMacs. The laptop memory chips were launched last month.
QuickStream SS drives
MCE Technologies today unveiled the QuickStream SS, a self-powered solid-state drive designed for standard and high-definition video capture. The QuickStream SS is ideal in situations where vibration or other environmental factors contribute to a less-than-desirable shooting environment for standard platter-based capture methods. Size configurations were not mentioned, but MCE will ship both a 2 hour and four hour model, for $1800 and $2800 respectively.
Eye-Fi 126.96.36.199 update
Eye-Fi recently unveiled Eye-Fi Manager 188.8.131.52, an update to its device management software for the Eye-Fi wireless storage card. The update brings with it iPhoto integration, and increased stability for both Mac and PC users. Users also receive a firmware update, which improves the card's performance when it is in less-than-optimal broadcasting conditions, and enhanced compatibility with Kodak's Easy Share cameras. Existing users are able to upgrade for no additional charge.
Goldman on iPod, Mac sales
Research firm Goldman Sachs is predicting strong holiday sales for Apple's iPods and Macs, and remains confident about the Cupertino-based company's forthcoming products in 2008. Goldman analyst David Bailey foresees the new iPhone arriving in the second half of 2008, with a smaller upgrade and more flash memory surfacing earlier in the year, according to Seeking Alpha.
Micron enters SSD market
Although long known as a RAM producer, Micron has only just introduced its first SSD flash drives, the RealSSD line. Coming in 1.8- and 2.5-inch sizes, the drives are limited to 32 or 64GB capacities, but bring with them a few distinguishing traits. They use a native SATA II interface instead of a bridge chip for example, and can be removed from a computer without turning off power beforehand. They also consume a mere 2W when active, and less when idling or in standby. Plastic casing is said to cut weight by at least 50 percent over similar-sized HDDs.
Amazon Black Friday deals
Amazon is offering several Black Friday deals, including a special price on the Hauppauge 1145 MyTV.HD TV Stick for Mac (only $83), a USB 2.0 TV Stick with a Hybrid TV tuner receiver for both NTSC cable analog or over-the-air ATSC hi-definition digital TV. The company is also offering deals on digital cameras -- including 2GB SD cards (Kingston/SanDisk) for as little as $13 -- and a 24-inch wide-screen TV for only $320 (after rebate). [corrected]