Macronix, a company known for its leadership in mask ROMs and low-density NOR flash has just entered the NAND flash market. This adds a new player to a very small pool of competitors: Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, Hynix, Intel, and Micron.
The company’s first NAND products are SLC chips of two densities: 512Mb and 1Gb. Compare this to the offerings of the market’s other participants which range up to 256Gb. Spot price tracker InSpectrum doesn’t even track pricing of densities below 4Gb!
There still seems to be a good market for these low-density parts: According to WSTS over 200 million 512Mb units shipped in 2010, and over 500 million 1Gb parts. Although we often lose sight of low density NAND for the highest-density parts that ship, the market for the lower-density parts can continue for many years.
We can estimate the market size using InSpectrum’s prices: The prices for all parts smaller than 64Gb were roughly equal, at about $2.50. If we combine 512Mb and 1Gb unit shipments and multiply by $2.50 the total market for 2010 comes out at about $1.8 billion – certainly a target worth pursuing.
Keep in mind that InSpectrum’s prices are for MLC product. It is likely that Macronix can charge a good bit more for an SLC part than for an MLC one.
Readers who would like to understand the NAND flash market are directed to an Objective Analysis report: Understanding the NAND Market, which can be purchased for immediate download from the Objective Analysis website.