Two of the world's major NAND flash memory chip makers -- Toshiba and Samsung Electronics -- are competing against each another on the development and commercialization of next-generation 3-D memory chips.
NAND flash memory chips are used in smartphones and PCs.
While conventional memory chips basically consist of one layer of memory elements, 3-D chips are made by stacking up dozens of thin layers of memory elements. This multiple-layer method helps expand memory capacity dramatically. Toshiba is aiming to produce NAND memory chips capable of storing 1 terabyte of data by fiscal 2019.
The more layers 3-D memory chips have, the larger their memory storage capacity will become. Both companies have yet to disclose their developmental status, but unconfirmed reports claim that they have achieved 24 layers last year and are expecting to develop 32-layered memory chips this year.
Thought 3D chips are still in the developmental stage, industry experts point out that conventional two-dimensional memory chips still offer more advantages at present.
Observers say that both Toshiba and Samsung are looking to achieve 48 layers in 2015 and are now rushing to turn out truly next-generational memory products ahead of their main competitor.