Samsung Electronics announced a new flash memory chip on Monday that should pave the way for removable memory cards that can hold up to 32GB of data.
Samsung's 16Gb NAND flash memory chip, which is slated to enter commercial production during the second half of next year, will be manufactured using a 50-nanometer production process, the company said. The new chip will allow memory-card makers to design cards with a capacity of 32GB by putting 16 of these chips into a single card, it said.
To put that into perspective, a 32GB memory card would be able to store 8,000 MP3 audio files or 20 DVD-quality movies in a handheld device such as a mobile phone, Samsung said.
However, no memory-card makers have so far committed to producing 32GB memory cards based on the new chip. "We just announced this chip and we don't have any specific customers yet," said Suyeon Chae, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Seoul.
At present, most removable memory cards come in capacities up to several gigabytes. For example, Pretec Electronics, a subsidiary of Taiwan's C-One Technology, began offering Secure Digital (SD) cards -- a popular memory card format -- with a 4GB capacity last month. It claimed it was the first company to sell an SD card with that much capacity.
In addition, the SD Card Association, an industry group established to promote the card format, has said SD cards with a capacity of 8GB are in the pipeline, but it has not said when they will be available.
Samsung hopes to see flash memory become more widely used as a storage medium, including as a replacement for hard-disk drives in some notebook computers. To this end, it announced plans earlier this year to introduce a flash-based replacement for hard drives. Called solid-state disks (SSDs), these hard-drive replacements will initially be available in capacities up to 16GB, according to the company.