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Wednesday, May 10, 2006
New Gpoup Simplifies Flash NAND Integration


Hynix Semiconductor, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Phison Electronics Corporation and Sony Corporation are among the founding companies that today announced the formation of the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Working Group.

The mission of the ONFI Working Group is to simplify integration of NAND flash memory into consumer electronics (CE) devices and computing platforms. The companies are jointly defining an enhanced chip-level standard interface for the attachment of NAND flash memory to host systems.

Today, use of NAND flash in CE devices and computing platforms is hampered by the lack of sufficient standardization. To support a new NAND flash part on a platform, host software and hardware changes are often required, even when the new NAND flash part is supplied by the same vendor. Implementing host changes can be extremely costly due to the new testing cycle required and can cause slower rates of adoption for new NAND flash devices.

?An improved common interface is critical to reducing or eliminating software changes and long qualification cycles when using a new NAND flash part,? said Takashi Yamanishi, Deputy General Manager, Standards and Partnership, Sony Corporation.

To enable a fast industry transition to the new interface, ONFI will exploit existing commonalities between current NAND devices. The interface will enable NAND devices to self-describe their capabilities to the host, including memory layout, timing support and enhanced features. The specification will also standardize the command set for NAND, put infrastructure in place for future evolution of NAND capabilities, and provide flexibility for supplier-specific optimizations. Additionally, the specification will define common pin-outs in order to avoid board layout changes when using a new NAND device.

The group continues to work with other industry-leading companies, including NAND suppliers, to form the board of directors. Additional founding members are expected to be announced within the quarter as the process is completed. The specification is scheduled to be completed by the ONFI Working Group in the second half of 2006.


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