SanDisk has begun production of NAND flash memory
using 19nm process technology and hopes that
transition to the new process will generate a further
cost reduction and higher performance.
"In 2011, our 24 nanometer technology was the primary
cost reduction driver and it accounted for the vast
majority of our production output in the fourth
quarter," said Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive
officer of SanDisk, during a conversation with
financial analysts. "We began production of 19
nanometer technology in Q4 and it will ramp throughout
2012. As we have explained previously, NAND scaling is
becoming more complex for the industry resulting in a
lower rate of cost reduction from technology
transitions. The 19 nm technology will generate a
lower cost reduction rate compared to what we
achieved with the 24 nm transition. Our 19 nm
technology enables us to achieve what we believe are
the world?s smallest and the most cost effective X2
and X3 memory die in high volume manufacturing in
2012. We will discuss our technology roadmap further
at our analyst day in February," Mehrotra added.
SanDisk delivered strong Q4 and 2011 results in
revenue growth, profitability and cash flows.
"We bolstered our technology leadership in NAND Flash
and product roadmaps, and continued to grow faster
than the semiconductor industry with market share
gains in our core and new businesses. These results
reflect our success in leveraging the extraordinary
opportunities that are being created by the confluence
of the content, mobility and storage trends and also
speak to the success of our expansion into new
markets, channels and customers with storage solutions
that our customers want from us," Mehrotra said.
Sandisk also expects the mobile segment to benefit
from several trends, including broadening adoption of
tablets, the ongoing penetration of smartphones in
emerging markets and increasing consumption of video.
Increased adoption of tablets for content consumption
and as productivity enhancing tools by both consumers
and enterprises should drive strong growth for NAND
flash. In addition, the ongoing shift from 2G to 3G
mobile phones in emerging markets bodes well for
increasing NAND flash consumption. Additionally, the
increasing consumption of video on mobile devices,
enabled by LTE networks, will continue to drive demand
for more NAND flash.
The company also expects 2012 to mark the inflexion
point of SSD growth for SanDisk with both the
enterprise and client markets.
Sansdisk plans to strength its enterprise SSD market
presence this year and further expand its product
portfolio with PCIe and SATA SSD products. For the
SSD market, the company's small form factor client
SSDs are being adopted by PC OEMs into their new
Ultrabook platforms in both standalone SSD and caching
Turning to fab operations, Sandisk has completed the
planned capacity expansion within Phase 1 of Fab 5,
and has now equipped approximately 30% of the Phase 1
space. The company expects future Phase 1 expansion
to begin no sooner than July 2012.