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The Golden Tablet: SanDisk Cashes in on Apple’s Use of Flash Memory

Flash MemoryHawksM24 June 2010

After years of waiting, the market has gotten its tablet and the people are more than a little excited, not to mention SanDisk – the company Apple chose to make the flash memory used for its latest innovation.

Flash memory, already used in digital cameras, mobile phones, and some laptop computers, takes up less space and speeds up operation – two key drawing points for Apple when creating the iPad. But SanDisk wouldn’t be in this position today if it weren’t for the near soothsayer abilities of SanDisk founder, Eli Harari. Harari established relationships with mobile handset makers so early in the game that now almost half of the company’s revenue comes from the mobile handset market.

Being asked to make anything for an Apple product would be a big deal for any company, but with statistics being thrown around like “an iPad is now sold every three seconds” it looks like SanDisk has hit the jackpot. Morgan Stanley predicts that iPad sales will top 10 million by the end of this year – an increase from its previous projection of 6 million. And this could only be the beginning for SanDisk.

Like the iPhone for the smartphone market, the iPad is setting the bar for tablet computers. HP is set to release its ­­­TouchSmart 600 tablet PC and Sony, which already uses SanDisk flash memory in its netbook machines, and Asustek Computer will be following suit.

“If Apple does well with their products, then the whole mobile market does well,” says semiconductor analyst Dinesh Moorjani of Broadpoint AmTech, which could only mean more business for SanDisk.

Right now, solid-state drives, which use flash memory, are being positioned to replace the traditional rotating hard drives in laptop computers. Cost is the limiting factor. An SSD drive is currently priced at about $1.90 per gigabyte of flash, but Moorjani sees the pricing sweet-spot falling at about the $1 range. With prices looking to drop about 50 cents a year, he suggests that mass adoption may only be about two years away.

That’s not very long to wait for SanDisk to rein king.

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Verbatim Improves Data Storage with New Product Suite

Flash MemoryHawksM06 May 2010

“Secure ‘n’ Go,” a new series of products offered by Verbatim, features an enhanced USB products and SSD drive, addressing the need of professional and private users to secure data on mobile storage devices. Verbatim’s Secure Data USB Drives and SSD ExpressCards offer industry-first AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256bit hardware security encryption and integrated password protection.

The added feature on Verbatim’s new product line allows the user to implement a personalized form of data security via the Web. The SSD ExpressCard or USB drive can be registered online to activate the use of a lock, unlock, or erase feature. Remotely, from the Web, users can initiate “lock” mode, restricting access to the device by disengaging password entry, or “erase all data” mode in case the device becomes lost or stolen.

And, Verbatim reports, the SSD ExpressCard is portable and convenient, fitting inside a laptop PCI ExpressCard slot.

Other products in the series include: Solid State Drives, DVDs and Central Remote Management. Verbatim launched the products at the Infosecurity Show in London at the end of April and made them available as of May 2010.

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SanDisk Takes Home Top Honor, Sets the Bar for 2010

Flash MemoryHawksM11 February 2010

For the second year in a row, SanDisk director, design engineering, Cuong Trinh, has been a distinguished guest at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) held this year From Feb. 7 to 11 in San Francisco. After delivering a paper last year to the conference titled “A 5.6MB/s 64Gb 4b/Cell NAND Flash Memory in 43nm CMOS” Trinh has been awarded the ISSCC 2009 Lewis Winner Outstanding Paper Award.

The ISSCC award recognizes SanDisk, a leader in flash memory cards, for its development of the patented X4™ technology, which achieves four-bits-per-cell using superior memory management, signal processing schemes, and powerful error correction code. The X4 technology has been known to perform well and is relatively low in cost.

“The fact that SanDisk has received two consecutive ISSCC Outstanding-Paper Awards is a dramatic demonstration of their continuing breakthrough research,” said Dr. Kenneth C. Smith, ISSCC Awards/Recognition Chair, in the SanDisk press release made public February 9.

This award could be just what the company needs after experiencing a significant drop in share prices last month. Shares took a 9-percent drop after the company projected its earnings to be weaker than expected.

But have no fear SanDisk, some experts say. The sudden stock-price drop may be less worrisome than it seems. For the first time ever, SanDisk founder and CEO, Dr. Eli Harari, hinted at a possible formal relationship between SanDisk and Apple, which already sends millions of dollars in royalties to the flash-memory technology company, after its announcement of the iPad.

Harari actually told Reuters that after attending the iPad unveiling he was “all smiles” because of the device’s potential to “create a huge demand for flash.” While this isn’t a clear indication of a signed contract, speculators only have to wait a few months for the iPad release to find out which technology Apple chose for its tablet computer’s inner components. If history is any indication of the future, SanDisk’s selection for Sony and LG computers may be a good sign for the company.

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