ONFI Accelerates Time-To-Market for NAND-Based Products

Group Welcomes New Members as it Tackles the Next Generation Specification

SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 22, 2007 – The Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFi) Working Group, the organization dedicated to simplifying integration of NAND Flash memory into consumer electronics (CE) devices, computing platforms and industrial systems, today announced the availability of the ONFi 1.0 specification. The chip-level standard interface simplifies Flash controller design, which facilitates the integration of a wide range of NAND Flash components into diverse end-use applications.

“The ONFi 1.0 specification is the first industry standard for the chip-level NAND Flash interface,” said Knut Grimsrud, ONFi Chairman and Intel Fellow. “Delivering the ratified specification just three quarters after the formation of the group is an exceptional accomplishment by the team. Building on this success, the ONFi group is already pursuing next generation development efforts to help enable Flash in additional applications and market segments.”

ONFi 1.0 is a comprehensive specification that defines NAND device behavior, such as command and register sets, pin-out, electrical parameters and packaging. In addition, the specification provides the NAND Flash with the ability to identify itself and provide key characteristics such as memory layout, timing support, and enhanced features to the controller, via a standardized protocol.

This self-describe capability expands the range of NAND Flash components that the application can efficiently accommodate. This also enables support for new Flash components with minimal software changes, thus shortening qualification cycles and improving time-to-market (TTM) for original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The specification is now available at http://onfi.org/specification.asp.

ONFi Roadmap
With the completion of the 1.0 specification, the technical workgroups within ONFi take the next step in the organization’s technical roadmap. ONFi will now focus on substantially increasing the Flash interface transfer rate to improve overall system-level performance. The group will also continue to simplify host controller design by providing a block abstraction capability – enabling the use of an even wider range of NAND Flash components in many applications.

Lastly, ONFi will define a Flash module, including a tailored module connector which will enable an industry standard, pluggable NAND module similar to a DRAM module used in computing platforms today. This next generation specification is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2007.

“An increase in transfer rate in the next ONFi specification will be required to enable next generation consumer and industrial storage applications,” said Lane Mason, memory market analyst for Denali. “With many of the industry-leading companies involved, ONFi will help manufacturers integrate next generation NAND Flash into future products to enhance performance, functionality and time-to-market.”

About ONFi
The ONFi Working Group is dedicated to simplifying integration of NAND Flash memory into consumer electronics (CE) applications and computing platforms. Before the advancements made by the working group, use of NAND Flash in these end-use applications was hampered by the lack of sufficient standardization. To support a new NAND Flash component on a platform, host software and hardware changes were often required. Implementing these changes was extremely costly due to the new testing cycle required – which led to slower rates of adoption for new NAND Flash components. ONFi aims to remedy that problem and speed time to market for NAND Flash based applications.

The ONFi Working Group formed in May 2006 and currently has 37 members. ONFi’s founding companies include Hynix Semiconductor, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Phison Electronics Corporation, Sony Corporation and STMicroelectronics.

Please visit www.onfi.org for more information on the initiative and how to become a contributor.

Blair Cook
+1 503-619-0656