JEDEC, the standard setting organization in the memory industry, and the open NAND flash interface (ONFI) working group led by Intel Corp. have announced that they had entered into a collaborative agreement under which they will work together to develop NAND flash interface specification(s). The decision will make the Intel developed flash memory interface an industrial standard.
“JEDEC-approved standards are often viewed as a requirement by many system designers. With today’s widespread adoption of NAND flash, it’s a natural step for JEDEC to work on standardization in this area. The results of this collaboration will make it easier for the industry to design and use NAND flash,” said JEDEC Liaison Task Group Chairman Roelof Salters from NXP Semiconductor.
ONFI work group is submitting the ONFI 2.0 specification as part of the joint effort between the group and JEDEC. The goal of this joint activity will be to unify the industry and develop a standard which is backward compatible with existing flash interface technologies, including ONFI 2.0, to the extent technically feasible.
Nowadays there is a number of interfaces used by NAND flash memory. Market leaders Samsung Electronics and Toshiba utilize OneNAND/Flex OneNAND and LBA-NAND/mobileLBA-NAND interfaces, respectively, whereas other makers, namely Intel Corp. and its allies Hynix Semiconductor, Micron Technology and Phison Electronics Corp. supply flash with ONFI. Last year Samsung and Toshiba agreed to license their proprietary interfaces to each other, but with JEDEC supporting ONFI both makers are likely to consider supporting it as well.
The difference in interfaces virtually bounds equipment designer to a NAND flash memory supplier due to inability to install chips from competitors. This allows largest manufacturers of flash to enjoy more or less stable demand for their products and reduces competition on the market in general. With a single interface standard, multiple flash makers will be able to compete for a single design.
“This collaboration between ONFI and JEDEC is intended to define a NAND standard for use in current and next-generation systems. By joining forces, we will be able to provide a means for NAND flash to be seamlessly integrated into a variety of consumer, computer, automotive and industrial systems,” said Knut Grimsrud, ONFI chairman and Intel director of storage architecture.
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