Sandisk Introduces Stingray, an Advanced Software Development Tool Kit For Binary And MLC NAND Flash

11/14/2002 - SanDisk introduced the Stingray software development tool kit, an advanced product that will bring the low-cost benefits of NAND flash memory to numerous consumer and industrial products including cell phones, handheld computers, digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, industrial computers and automotive and telecommunications systems. The announcement was made at the Electronica 2002 trade show where SanDisk is showing products in booth A4. 243.

Stingray enables the lowest cost, flash-based host designs by providing customers with access to low cost NAND flash memory, including multi-level cell (MLC) NAND. Stingray compliments SanDisk's current embedded product offerings of TriFlash, ATA flash chip sets and a wide range of flash cards.

Bo Ericsson, SanDisk's vice president of OEM marketing, said, "Stingray is a significant development for the industry. We expect that it will widely popularize usage of NAND flash memory because it will reduce the cost of developing new flash-based products, decrease the development time and ultimately result in more end-user products that will be benefited by NAND flash memory. NAND flash offers superior write performance at lower power, higher capacities and significantly lower cost than NOR flash. Stingray will help drive an industry-wide transition from NOR to NAND flash memory."

The Stingray software development tool kit, a patent-pending technology, is available now and is offered for a license fee of $19,950 per (developed) product. It is a complete, turn-key solution for both embedded code and data storage applications and can be used with either binary or MLC NAND flash. SanDisk provides its engineering consulting services for OEMs and host manufacturers who are interested in designing with NAND flash embedded and card products. SanDisk is actively working with numerous companies in various market segments in the design of products.

Ericsson said, "While NAND flash has compelling advantages over NOR, some companies have been slow to adopt the technology primarily due to the lack of supporting software drivers. This is all changing with our release of the Stingray package. Stingray will provide for a more robust design by leaving the management of the NAND memory to a single software package that is easily ported to any microprocessor or operating system. It has already been ported into Motorola micro controllers and various ARM SOC (SystemOnChip) CPUs, Texas Instruments digital signal processors and WinCE and Linux operating systems."

He added, "Stingray will also significantly shorten the time-to-market for our customers. With Stingray, we have reduced design cycles for companies that no longer have to buy expensive hardware or commit significant software engineering expertise. Developers can use all the expertise that SanDisk has compiled over the years as we helped various companies develop more than 400 flash-based products."

Over the last few years, flash memory companies, driven by the need to increase capacity points and lower costs, have developed increasingly advanced and complex flash technologies. However, older software controller packages have not been able to adapt to these new flash technologies. For example, MLC NAND flash, which offers substantial improvements in storage density and cost as it stores multiple bits of information in a single memory cell, is not supported by older software controllers. With Stingray, all versions of NAND flash (including the most advanced MLC architectures) are fully supported. This broad support for NAND flash by a single software package provides significant flexibility for a system designer in his/her choice of NAND memory architecture, including easy implementation of MLC NAND.

In addition to Stingray, SanDisk offers other tool kits including: NAND Booting SDK; NAND Host Interface Logic; HDTK (Host Development Tool Kit) for SD, CompactFlash® and Memory Stick®; and Security SDKS (Software Developer Kits). SanDisk is the only company that offers complete embedded and removable flash development tool kits. Stingray can be used with NAND flash from all existing suppliers.

Stingray contains an infrastructure that thoroughly addresses all aspects of managing binary and MLC NAND flash memory. Those aspects include endurance improvement, memory management, consistent performance and power failure recovery. Stingray includes an optional, optimized FAT file system for convenient transfer of files between embedded and removable flash products.

SanDisk currently offers NAND flash in capacities ranging from 128 megabit (Mbit) to 1 gigabit (Gbit). Two 1Gbit dies also can be stacked in a single TSOP (Thin Small Outline Package). That would produce a 256 megabyte (MB) storage device.

SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

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