Toshiba Will Begin 3D NAND Volume Production in Early 2014

Aug 8, 2013
Jyunichi Oshita, Nikkei BP Semiconductor Research
Hisao Tanaka speaking at a press meeting
Hisao Tanaka speaking at a press meeting
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Hisao Tanaka, president and CEO of Toshiba Corp, mentioned the company's plan to mass-produce its "BiCS (bit-cost scalable)" 3D NAND flash memory at a press meeting that took place Aug 7, 2013, in Tokyo.

Answering reporters' questions after the meeting, he said, "We have not yet clearly decided when to start volume production, but we are planning to start it at the end of this fiscal year (fiscal 2013 ending in March 2014) or the beginning of the next fiscal year (fiscal 2014)."

In regard to the production model of the BiCS, Tanaka said, "We will realize a chip size (area) that can never be surpassed by our competitors. Please do not consider that Toshiba is half a year behind Samsung in terms of volume production." (See related article)

During the Q&A session of the meeting, Tanaka said that he has confidence in Toshiba's position in the development race for NAND flash memories, saying, "We not only have been leading process technology advancement but also have confidence in its technological background."

Toshiba plans to introduce 1Ynm and 1Znm process technologies before the release of the BiCS. The company will soon be able to introduce a process technology that is one generation more advanced than the second generation of its 19nm technology, which is currently used for volume production, Tanaka said.

"At that point, we will catch up with Samsung's 3D NAND or get ahead of it in terms of chip size," he said.

In other words, he said that Toshiba can compete with Samsung's 3D NAND with its 1Ynm- or 1Znm-generation products.

While Toshiba expressed full confidence in the advancement of NAND flash process, the company admitted that it might reach a physical limit after the 1Znm generation, Tanaka said. Therefore, the company considers that it will switch to 3D NAND in full scale in about 2015.