(Press Release) — SanDisk Corporation this week is shipping the world’s first production one-gigabyte (GB) Secure Digital (SD) flash card, which contains a unique “stackable” packaging technology jointly implemented with Sharp Corporation of Japan. This new package employs a low-cost, high-yielding die-stacking process that is designed to enable SanDisk to double the memory capacity without increasing the size of the card, thus launching a new generation of competitively-priced, higher-density flash devices that can store unprecedented amounts of pictures, music and video.
“This is truly a breakthrough in the packaging technology that was designed to enable SanDisk to double the card capacity using the same memory technology,” said Yoram Cedar, SanDisk’s Senior Vice-President of Engineering. “Sharp’s expertise was instrumental in allowing us to develop the 1-gigabyte SD Card, which is the primary storage medium for the newest handheld computers, compact digital camcorders and multimedia phones. This process can also be applied to other form factors such as Compact Flash (CF) and Memory Stick (MS), and we expect to use it in future products that require high-capacity flash mass storage.”
With a suggested retail price of $499.99, the 1GB SD card has the capacity to store more than 30 hours of digitally compressed music(1), 1,000 high-resolution digital images(2) and over five hours of MPEG-4 compressed video(1). According to NPD Techworld, a research company, during the fourth quarter of 2003 SD became the most popular flash memory card in America, representing 39 percent of U.S. retail sales in November and surging ahead of CF, Memory Stick and all other card formats. In December, the SD Card Association reported that more than 1,500 products were using the SD format, which has built-in Content Protection Rights Management designed to facilitate the secure exchange of content between devices and the card.
“Consumers can now obtain an SD card that opens immense new capabilities, whether it’s taking photographs or recording music or videos,” said Eric Bone, Retail Product Marketing Manager for SanDisk. “We believe that these cards will meet the present and future demands of many of our end-use customers who consider the SD card as the storage medium of choice for extremely compact digital cameras, handheld computers, audio players and mobile phones.”
Among the smallest of flash memory cards, the SD is only 2.1 millimeters thick and is the size of a postage stamp. Despite those limitations, SanDisk, working closely with Sharp’s Integrated Circuits Group, devised a way to stack additional layers of NAND MLC die in ultra-thin internal packages without increasing the overall size of the card. In what Sharp describes as its 3D-SiP (Three-Dimensional System in Package) process, two ultra-thin packages can now be vertically mounted in the same height that currently houses a single package.
“Market demand for higher density flash memory cards is continually increasing while the card format remains fixed,” said Morihiro Kada, Department General Manager for Packaging Development at Sharp. “SanDisk recognized the superior manufacturing flexibility and memory density that can be achieved using Sharp’s 3D-SiP technology of package stacking. The 1GB SD Card is a prime example of what can be realized when the leaders in flash card technology and packaging technology combine forces.” He added that Sharp’s 3D-SiP technology would lead “cutting-edge electronic products.”