Samsung boosts NAND flash memory capacity

Company alters traditional chip configuration to pack more memory into an even smaller unit.

Samsung Electronics on Monday announced a new design for NAND flash memory chips that will pave the way for a more powerful memory card--good news for consumers seeking more storage space in digital cameras, MP3 players, USB drives and smart phones.

Improvements in NAND flash memory--the data storage method used in a wide array of consumer electronics devices--are key, as today's buyers continue to demand increased functionality from smaller products.

Samsung says the tiny new 32-gigabit NAND flash chips are the first made with circuit elements 40 nanometers wide. These new, smaller chips can be used to make a 64GB card capable of holding 40 DVD-quality movies or 16,000 typical-size MP3 songs. (Currently, most data storage cards hold between 1GB and 4GB.) The new Samsung development will help with digital photography storage as megapixels and photo file sizes continue to increase.

The chip design described on Monday incorporates a new technology called Charge Trap Flash, or CTF, which will allow future circuit elements to be made even smaller and the manufacturing process to be more efficient, Chang Gyu Hwang, president and CEO of Samsung's semiconductor business, said at a Monday press conference in Seoul, Korea. Samsung said the new structure will enable the process to be eventually refined to 20 nanometers, further increasing the memory size of portable digital gadgets. No date is set for its release yet, the company said.

This latest development from the market leader in memory chips follows the New Memory Growth Theory that memory density will double every 12 months, which Hwang first presented in 2002. Last year, Samsung announced it had made a 16-gigabit NAND flash device.

In June, Samsung also released, in Korea only, its first .