DSP, Micros & Memory


Embedded flash memory design win

23 October 2002 DSP, Micros & Memory

Flash memory company, SST (Silicon Storage Technology) has announced that its Shanghai-based subsidiary, SST China, has been selected by Shanghai HuaHong Integrated Circuit (SHHIC) as the supplier of embedded flash memory technology. SHHIC is a leading developer and promoter of smartcard technology. SST will provide its embedded SuperFlash technology in densities ranging from 256 Kb to 4 Mb to SHHIC, while SHHIC will embed SST's flash memory in a variety of its IC designs, including its next-generation smartcard ICs.

Dr Hao Min, general manager, SHHIC said, "We are very impressed with SST's SuperFlash technology, as its low power, high reliability, volume production experience and general availability through multiple leading wafer foundries in Asia make it a perfect match for our next-generation secure smartcard ICs."

Smartcards are used heavily in China, Europe and other areas of the world to store data and enable secure transactions in a wide range of application areas including banking, identification, health care, multimedia, mass transit and wireless communications. According to market research firm Gartner Dataquest, worldwide smart card shipments reached 685,4 million units in 2001, up 10,4% from 2000. SHHIC's next generation smartcard ICs are based on a 32-bit microprocessor and will be available to the industry early next year.

The nonvolatile memory technology used for manufacturing smartcard ICs has traditionally been thin-tunnel-oxide-based EEPROM technology. However, due to the large memory cell size and reliability concerns on the thin-oxide, EEPROM technology can only support smartcard applications that require a small amount of embedded memory. SST believes that its embedded SuperFlash technology is the best candidate for future generations of smartcard IC applications that require much higher density of embedded memory because the SuperFlash cell size is much smaller and the thicker oxide used in the SuperFlash technology has proven to have excellent data retention reliability in high-volume production. SST plans to further scale down its SuperFlash technology to accommodate multimegabytes of embedded memory for future smartcard IC applications.



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