Risks on relying on a single flash vendor
Interesting piece of news today – Digitimes is reporting that Samsung has informed its customers that it will be reducing supply of NAND Flash chips because of the huge order placed by Apple. This story is being picked up by several news outlet including Engadget. While this is good news for Apple and all those vying for the 3G iPhone, it underscores the challenges other OEMs that depended on Samsung Flash will be facing. NAND flash market is very volatile with demand – supply economics changing rapidly. Intricacies of flash memory force most OEMs to rely on a single vendor for supply, that way they do not have to implement support for several flash parts in their design. While this may seem the easier route, situations such as today’s causes production to come to halt or a significant redesign, both which are very expensive alternatives.
One of the ways to reduce such risk is to include support for multiple flash parts and use multi-sourcing to source flash parts from 3-4 flash vendors. If you are using an intelligent flash manager like FlashFX Pro , you are already covered since FlashFX pro supports 200+ flash parts from all top flash vendors. For others, it can still be done with some serious effort during planning and design time. Consider this work as an insurance against an event such as today’s.