Micron will begin 3D NAND volume production by late 2015
Micron (MU) in its fiscal 3Q15 presentation stated that it plans to start volume production of 3D NAND by the end of 2015. It is currently sampling a 32-layer 3D NAND device. Micron is of the opinion that 3D NAND will be a significant contributor to its total trade NAND supply in 2016.
Micron aims to produce a “low volume” 32-layer 3D NAND device in the second half of 2015. However, it is said that to make 3D NAND the most cost competitive, it has to have 48 layers. In 2016, Micron plans to introduce a “second generation” 3D NAND that is expected to be a 48-layer device.
According to TrendForce, 3D NAND accounts for only ~3% of the NAND Flash industry’s overall supply, as the majority of the companies are still in the testing and sample delivery stage. However, the 3D NAND market share is expected to reach 20% by 2015. IHS Research estimated that 3D NAND technology will make up the majority of total flash shipments, equivalent to 65.7% by 2017.
Micron partnered with Intel for 3D NAND technology
In March 2015, Micron along with Intel (INTC) established IM Flash Technologies (or IMFT), a NAND joint venture. In April 2015, Micron and Intel announced the availability of their 3D NAND technology. Their peer Samsung (SSNLF) is already shipping 3D NAND products. Samsung began the mass production of next generation 3D NAND drives in August 2014. In January 2015, the company showed 3D NAND based on enterprise SSD at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
3D NAND is high density flash technology that can store 16 times more than NAND memory chips. Smartphones, cameras, and other mobile devices use NAND chips to store music, pictures, and other data. With higher memory density on a smaller die, the 3D NAND technology offers low power usage, considerable cost efficiency, and high performance for a plethora of mobile consumer devices as well as enterprise applications.