In a nutshell: Japanese memory specialist Kioxia recently announced it has developed the first functional 2 terabyte (TB) micro SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) memory card prototypes. Kioxia utilized its BiCS 3D flash memory and custom in-house memory controller to demonstrate basic functionality at the standard's maximum density. Specifically, Kioxia stacked 16 one-terabit dies of 3D flash memory totaling a thickness of 0.8mm.
As the data recording demands of smartphones, portable game consoles and action cameras continue to increase, the need for ultra-high capacity storage has never been greater. Cloud storage and streaming services help in certain instances but for devices that generate data, local storage is still best.
The SD Association's (SDA) SDXC spec has supported cards up to 2TB for more than a decade but until now, nobody has manufactured them successfully. The SDA is a non-profit that was formed in 2000 by SanDisk, Toshiba and Panasonic to set global memory card standards. To date, the organization lists more than 750 member companies on its website.
Kioxia is a relatively new name in the memory industry. Toshiba adopted the brand in late 2019. Pronounced kee-ox-ee-uh, the name is a portmanteau of the Japanese work kioku meaning "memory" and the Greek word axia which means "value."
Just days ago, Kioxia said it was reducing wafer starts by approximately 30 percent at its Yokkaichi and Kitakami flash memory plants. The company said the move will help it better manage production and sales, and will continue to review and adjust operations as necessary.
Last month, analyst firm TrendForce said excess inventory is forcing manufacturers to slash prices on existing products. In the fourth quarter, we could see NAND flash wafer prices drop another 20 percent which is great news for those in the market for cheap storage solutions. The market will eventually correct itself but who knows when that might happen.
Mass production of Kioxia 2TB microSDXC memory cards is scheduled to begin sometime in 2023. No word yet on target pricing or more specific availability.
Image credit: Samsung Memory