Toshiba takes on Samsung in NAND

Toshiba has opened a NAND flash facility as it looks to jump ahead of Samsung in the memory market.

The Japanese company has cut the ribbon on a 300mm wafer fab in a joint deal with SanDisk, and has begun volume production.

The facility will use 24 nanometre process technology for the time being, but will eventually move to the next generation 19 nm process.

Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan, will be the site of the newly up and running fab.

As well as reducing carbon emissions by 12 percent through LED lighting and power saving equipment, the cutting edge facility will also feature “advanced earthquake absorbing structures”.

Toshiba has the controlling share in the joint venture and will hope to have its first wafers out in August, as it turns the screws on its rival in the NAND flash market.

With consumers continuing to shell out big bucks for smartphones and tablets, the NAND flash landscape is increasingly competitive.

Toshiba president Norio Sasaki claimed that despite seasonal weakness, meaning that the second quarter of this year was “a little tough”, the second-place company has gained ground on Samsung.

While it catches up in terms of market share, he also warned against a damaging price battle with the Korean firm, stating a need to “make sure that prices don’t drop”.

Sasaki noted that the clamour for mobile devices had opened up more lucrative potential for NAND flash manufacturers, writes MarketWatch.

However, he also pointed out that there is still “much room for growth”, particularly in emerging markets.

This has not gone unnoticed by others, intent on knocking Samsung off its perch. Elpida has thrown its hat into the ring, along with a massive wad of cash.

With almost a billion dollar investment in its migration to the NAND flash market there is little doubt over the battleground mobile memory is quickly becoming.

Samsung should consider the occasional look over its shoulder if it wishes to keep its crown.